Constitutional validity of J&K Land Accusation Act challenged

*HC directs State to release compensation

Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu, May 29:   In a petition filed by various land owners whose land had been acquired for the Ring Road in Jammu, they have challenged the Constitutional  validity of J&K Land Accusation Act.
Justice MK Hanjura of J&K High Court after hearing Advocate  Abhinav Sharma issued notice to the State and others  and also directed State that subject to objection of the other side and till the next date of listing before the Bench, respondents shall consider release of compensation as per the decision of National Highway Authority of India communicated vide communication dated  October 4, 2017 and payment of compensation shall remain subject to result of writ petition.
During the course of hearing,  advocate Sharma submitted that the petitioners are land owners of  Tehsils Marh and  Bhalwal of Jammu district and the land of the petitioners is being acquired for construction by National Highway Authority of India for construction of Semi Ring Road connecting Thandi Khui (Samba) to Nagrota via Akhnoor. The project Is 100% financed by the Central Government. Even without issuing notices as provided under law, the land of the petitioners is being taken possession of and the structures standing on the land are being demolished.
He submitted that even the awards have been published  and only meager amount has been awarded in favour of the land owners under the provisions of the J&K Land Acquisition Act, 1990. Since the project is a Central project and for similar Project in other states of India, four times the market value of the land is being paid to the land owners, but the petitioners are being paid only the market value as per the value in the Stamp Act plus 15% Jabarana, which is not at all adequate and fair compensation.
He further submitted that Under ‘The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’ of the Central Govt, four times the market value of the land is being paid as per the procedure provided in first Schedule of the Act. Contrary to this, under the J&K Land Acquisition Act, 1990, even for a Central Project wholly financed by the Central Govt, only market value plus 15% Jabarana  is being  paid  and  there is no provision resettlement and rehabilitation of the family uprooted from the land. The petitioners are challenging the J&K Land Acquisition Act, 1990, on these counts, the State Act being discriminated in nature is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Some of the petitioners are even losing the only source of their income. Not only this, for acquisition of land for the same project of Semi Ring Road, land owners in Samba, Pulwama and Bandlpora districts are being paid handsome amount, which is far more than the amount mentioned under the Stamp Act.
The petitioners being aggrieved of the J&K Land Acquisition Act, 1990 are seeking writ of mandamus, declaring that the said State Act as ultra-vires the constitution and are also seeking writ of mandamus, directing the respondents to pay compensation to the petitioners / land owners in the same manner as is being paid In other States of India for similar project as per the Central Act of 2013, he maintained.

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