HC directs for return of land or compensation to owner

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Nov 9: High Court has directed the Government to acquire the land which is under its possession in accordance with law and pay the rentals for the same from the date of acquisition till date to the owner.
The owner of the land had approached the writ court for compensation of the land measuring 37 kanals situated in district Budgam and the writ court dismissed his claim on the ground that the actual owner has approached the court on belated stage as such her claim is not maintainable.
The writ court verdict has been challenged before the division bench by way of Letters Patent Appeal mentioning therein that her ancestral land is under unauthorized occupation by the Department of Horticulture and she could not approach the court on time as she was minor at the time of acquisition of the land in question and not aware about the occupation of the said land by the respondent-department
The division bench headed by Justice Sanjeev Kumar allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned writ court judgment with the direction to the authorities either to return the subject land to the petitioner-owner within a period of two months or initiate steps for acquiring the same in accordance with law within the same period.
The court also added that there is no dispute by the respondents that they are the occupants of the subject land without payment of any compensation to the petitioner or her father, rental or otherwise. There is no whisper in the reply filed by the respondents that they had followed due process of law for acquiring the subject land.
Court has also directed that if the Government intends to return the land to the petitioner, then the rental for the period of possession shall be worked out and the same be paid to the owner.
The appellant-Begum claims to be the owner of the land measuring more than 37 kanals situated in District Budgam which was taken over by the Horticulture Department and during the lifetime of her father, no rental compensation was ever paid nor same was ever offered to her after the death of her father.
The DB on approaching the court at a very belated stage by the owner recorded that the immovable property of the citizens gives recurring cause of action to claim their immovable property and the aggrieved citizen has a continuous cause of action and may approach the court any time.
DB after having heard the parties and perused the material on record viewed that the judgment impugned passed by writ court is not sustainable for more than one reason. “We do not find the existence of any disputed questions of fact, much-less, complicated disputed questions of fact which need determination in these proceedings. From specific averments made in the writ petition and which averments are not disputed by the respondents coupled with the Revenue record appended with the petition, it is evident that the petitioner is the owner of the subject land”, DB recorded.