In a landmark judgement, the Gujarat High Court, Thursday, ruled that landowners cannot dispute any land acquisition by the government for public purposes. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri dismissed a writ petition by a woman seeking compensation for a property purportedly owned by her but acquired by the government for its Bullet Train Project.
The Bench observed: “Prima facie, grievance about the entitlement of compensation raised by the petitioner is a disputed question. Whether the petitioner is entitled to or not, can well be examined by an appropriate forum meant for this very purpose under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. In our considered opinion, writ jurisdiction is not the proper forum. It would be open for the petitioner to ventilate her grievance before an appropriate forum available.”
The petitioner sold her society flat to one Sachin Chunilal Agrawal by a registered sale deed on 7.7.2020. The government acquired a portion of the land from the society and compensated each member of the society accordingly. Agarwal got the compensation through a cheque dated 27.10.2020.
Justice Aravind Kumar emphasised that Chapter VIII of the Land Acquisition Act has prescribed the establishment of the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority. This act is “couched with appropriate powers” to examine the issues which may arise in the process of land acquisition and compensation distribution.
Primarily, the Bench observed that the petitioner did take a “No-Due Certificate” from the society. Then, the flat was sold to the current owner. Therefore, all rights and interests favour the purchaser, including common facilities.
“Extraordinary jurisdiction of the High Court cannot be converted into a fact-finding and adjudicating authority, and as such, we are of the considered opinion that the present petition is not entertainable,” the court concluded.