JAMMU, Jan 3: High Court has disposed of bunch of petitions regarding land acquisition for the construction of New Bus-Stand Katra with the direction that the competent authority shall issue notice under Sections 9 and 9-A of the Land Acquisition Act and adhere to the prayer of the petitioners for demarcation of the land in question.
It was also directed that the possession of the land shall be taken from the petitioners only after payment of 80 per cent compensation which shall be determined as per the market value of the land by the Collector, Land Acquisition. In case Government feels at any stage of proceeding that excess land has been acquired, it shall be at liberty to de-notify the same, the High Court said.
After hearing both the sides, Justice Alok Aradhe observed, “the contention of the petitioners that they were not given an opportunity of hearing cannot be accepted as the order sheet indicates that their objections were considered by the Collector, Land Acquisition by assigning reasons and they were given opportunity of being heard”.
“Admittedly the land in question is being acquired for the purpose of construction of New Bus Stand which is a public purpose. The Supreme Court in the case of Mohan Singh Gill and others Versus State of Punjab and Others has held that it is not for the court to decide to which particular land and to what extent it was suitable for acquisition but it is for the Government to decide therefore the contention of the petitioners that excess land is being acquired cannot be examined by this court”, Justice Aradhe said.
“Since the petitioners have already been afforded an opportunity of being heard, therefore, even if, the urgency clause is invoked by the respondents for taking possession from the petitioners, no prejudice would be caused to the petitioners”, the High Court said, adding “the petitioners have already filed objections in pursuance of notice under Section 5-A of the Act and have been heard, therefore, the challenge to the validity of the notification under Section 4 of the Act cannot be entertained at this stage of the proceeding as no prejudice has been caused to the petitioners”.