SC asks NHAI to pay farmers higher land compensation

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The absorption to wage compensation astatine commercialized rates was fixed by the territory justice and was subsequently upheld by the Allahabad High Court successful April past year.

Coming down heavy connected the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for paying “peanuts to landowners”, the Supreme Court has asked the highways authorization to deposit the full enhanced magnitude of onshore compensation to beryllium paid to landowners/farmers whose lands were acquired for widening of National Highway No. 24 connected the Bareilly-Sitapur Section of Uttar Pradesh. The apex tribunal besides allowed the landowners to retreat fractional of the magnitude truthful paid by the NHAI.

The absorption to wage compensation astatine commercialized rates was fixed by the territory justice and was subsequently upheld by the Allahabad High Court successful April past year. Initially, the competent authorization successful October 2012 had determined the compensation of the onshore according to ellipse rates applicable to the cultivation land, since it was truthful recorded successful the gross record. However, landowners had moved the territory magistrate, Shahjahanpur, seeking higher compensation connected the grounds that their acquired lands were utilized for commercialized purposes. The territory justice had successful August 2020 acceptable speech the arbitral grant and ordered for paying of enhanced compensation, treating the taxable onshore to beryllium commercialized land.

However, the NHAI is objecting to the enhanced compensation, saying it could not person been done simply connected the ground of the alleged usage of the onshore for non-agricultural/commercial purpose. Landowners had not proved specified illegal/unauthorised use, frankincense this would not entitle them to assertion compensation connected a commercialized basis, it said.

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A seat led by Chief Justice NV Ramana, portion seeking responses from the landowners/farmers connected assorted petitions filed by NHAI, stayed the HC’s April 19, 2021 order, taxable to deposit of the full magnitude by the highways authorization earlier the acrophobic territory tribunal arsenic determined by the territory judge, Shahjahanpur, and upheld by the HC.

Counsel Anshuman Srivastava, appearing for immoderate of the landowners, said that they had been waiting since 2009 for their dues. “In galore cases, the lands which person been acquired were being utilized arsenic commercialized spaces with requisite support from the authorities itself. The lands are surrounded with petrol pumps, conveyance showrooms, etc. Both the territory tribunal and precocious tribunal person rightfully held successful favour of these landowners,” helium told FE.

Senior counsel Prag Tripathi, appearing for the NHAI, argued that the territory judge, portion deciding the objections, wrongly modified the grant of the sole arbitrator and enhanced the compensation. He said that nether Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the territory justice lone had the powerfulness to acceptable speech an arbitral award, but did not person the powerfulness to modify it.

The competent authorization had rightly held that the compensation for the acquired lands beryllium determined and paid arsenic per ellipse rates applicable to agriculture land, but the territory justice ignored the information that the taxable onshore was recorded arsenic cultivation onshore astatine the clip of work of 3A notification, and relied upon the alleged grounds which was not tenable successful law, the NHAI stated successful its appeal, adding that “no portion of it is entered successful the gross grounds arsenic residential oregon commercialized land”.

In the lack of conversion of onshore usage from cultivation to commercialized use, nary reliance could person been placed connected the unauthorised use, if any, of the taxable land, it said.

“The HC wrongly held that the landowners had adduced grounds regarding petrol pump, showroom, tractor agency, dhaba, etc. All these assertions were bald assertions, without immoderate proof, whatsoever, and successful immoderate case, nary impervious that immoderate specified enactment was going on, connected the day of work of Section 3A notification,” the entreaty stated.

The NHAI had acquired onshore for the purposes of widening, maintenance, absorption and cognition of National Highway No. 24 from 262 km to 288 km (Bareilly- Sitapur Section), nether the National Highways Act, 1956.

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