The Allahabad High Court on Monday directed the Greater Noida Authority to provide additional compensation and developed area to landholders of a village in Greater Noida, whose lands were being developed by private builders after acquisition.
The petitioners had sought quashing of the acquisition on account of wrong usage of urgency clause of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, as well as changing the land use from industrial to residential and commercial by giving it to private developers.
In another matter related to land acquisition pertaining to Basti district, the same division bench rejected the petition on the ground that there existed a situation for urgency in constructing a service road along an irrigation canal.
The petitions related to Greater Noida village Birondi Chakrasenpur had been filed by Khem Chand, Ram Singh, Jiley Singh, Bhopal Singh and others. More than 46 hectares (ha) land was acquired by the Greater Noida Authority in Chakrasenpur, the proceedings for which had begun on December 18, 2001.
Sectors Omicron 3, Pi, a recreational green and an amusement park are supposed to come up on the acquired land.
The petitioners, owning around 2.48 ha in the said village, had approached the High Court after they found out that the land use of the acquired land had been changed from industrial to residential. They also challenged it on the ground of wrong use of urgency clause.
The issue of land acquisition in Chakrasenpur village had been taken up in the Gajendra Singh and others, in which a full bench of the High Court had, on October 21, 2011, dealt with nearly 500 petitions on the same issues and given certain additional benefits to landholders. However, since the petitions were filed with a delay, the court had directed that it would be heard by a division bench at a later stage.
Disposing of the petitions, a division bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M C Tripathi said the petitioners were entitled to the benefits as provided for in the October 21 order. This included returning to the petitioners 10 per cent of their total land acquired as developed land, besides giving more than 64 per cent as additional compensation.
The bench, however, said: “We are of the view that invocation of urgency clause under Section 17 (1) and 17 (4) of the Act was not justified.” The said section pertains to doing away with public hearing before acquisition under Section 5-A, if there is a pressing urgency.
In another matter related to land acquisition in Sahrai village at Tappa Ramgarh, district Basti, the court rejected the petition filed by Govind Prasad Shukla and others.
The petitioners had challenged the land acquisition, which started on November 26, 2008, for construction of 27-km-long Khamaria irrigation canal. Shukla and others held 0.253 hectares of land, which had been acquired for construction of service road along the west bank of the canal. The petitioners had challenged the acquisition primarily on the ground of wrong use of urgency clause (Sections 17 (1) and (4) of the Act).
Rejecting the petition, the court said: “We find there was sufficient material for invocation of urgency clause for acquiring the land and dispensing with the inquiry. We also find that, apart from the petitioners, there were no challenge with regard to the acquisition and whole canal of approximately 27 km have already become functional.”
The court added that acquiring the little portion of land being held by the petitioner would not put the latter into any hardship.
While arriving at the conclusion, the court said public purpose could not be defined in a specific manner. However, in this case, it was clear that the irrigation canal was being used for public purpose, as it was providing water to farmers in Sahrai village, among others.