New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that
the government cannot compulsorily acquire private properties
by casually invoking the "urgency clause" unless there was a
genuine need which cannot brook any delay.
"The invoking of the urgency provisions can be justified
only if there exists real emergency which cannot brook delay
of even few weeks or months," the apex court said.
A bench of justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya said
if the State failed to give a fair hearing to the land owners
and invoke the urgency clause without proper justification it
would be deprivation of the citizen`s fundamental right
guaranteed under the Constitution.
"What needs to be emphasised is that although in exercise
of the power of eminent domain, the State can acquire the
private property for public purpose, it must be remembered
that compulsory acquisition of the property belonging to a
private individual is a serious matter and has grave
repercussions on his Constitutional right of not being
deprived of his property without the sanction of law Article
300A and the legal rights," Justice Singhvi, writing the
The apex court passed the judgement while quashing the
Delhi government`s acquisition of private lands of Darshan Lal
Nagpal and others at Mandoli village for establishing a
electric sub-station by Delhi Transco Limited.
Setting aside a Delhi High Court judgement which had
justified the acquisition as for being a public purpose, the
apex court said that in the present case though a decision was
taken for establishing the sub station as early as in 2004,
the compulsory acquisition under Section 17(emergency clause)
were made five years thereafter.
Under the Land Acquisition Act, the land owners have to
be compulsorily heard under Section 5A.