Jul 15, 2024

Ring Road Construction: Supreme Court issues notice to J&K Govt

The Supreme Court has issued notice to Jammu & Kashmir Govt as the aggrieved land owners from Wathoora district Budgam had moved an appeal against the J&K High Court Division Bench order dated 16th November 2022 wherein the court had directed the authorities to pass fresh award in Srinagar Ring Road construction case, but the assessment of the compensation was to be made as per J&K Land Acquisition Act Samvat 1990 which has been repealed now post article 370 abrogation.

The Government also didn’t adhere to the provisions of the said order and preferred to challenge the order in the Supreme Court through an SLP which is yet to be listed there.

Details available reveal that Supreme Court bench of Justice A S Bopana and Sanjay Kumar on Monday heard the counsel of the petitioners Senior Advocate Anitha Shenoy and Srishti Agnihotri , Advocate on Record (AOR) in the case of Special Leave Petition-SLP  titled Gulzar Ahmad Akhoon and others  v/s UT of J&K and others.

The SC bench in its order condoned the delay in filing of the SLP and issued notice to the respondents (Govt of J&K and others). The counsel for the petitioners Senior Advocate Anitha Shenoy requested that National Highway Authority of India -NHAI  be impleaded as party in the case and SC bench allowed the same.

The J&K High Court on November 16th 2022 had directed the Collector Land Acquisition, Budgam to pass a fresh award in Wathoora as the petitioners had challenged the award passed in 2021 at a time when the central land acquisition law was already extended to J&K. The aggrieved petitioners had demanded that the award passed by Collector land acquisition Budgam has lapsed due to efflux of time as Govt is supposed to pass an award within 2 years from the date of issuance of notification under section 6 of erstwhile JK Land Acquisition Act Samvat 1990. The

The High Court in its order dated Nov 16th 2022 had said

“ The Collector Land Acquisition shall pass a fresh award qua the petitioners only and for that purpose shall construe 11th August, 2020 (date of final award) as the relevant date for determination of market value but shall apply the yardsticks for assessment of compensation provided under the 1990 Act in respect of acquired land of the petitioners only. The Collector shall calculate other statutory benefits on such amounts including interest to be calculated and determined by taking into consideration the date of taking over possession i.e. 13th March, 2018”

“We were not satisfied with this order and infact the Govt also didn’t implement the same. By virtue of this order we would have got 30 to 40 % more compensation but we want four times more compensation which is a provision under the central law applicable to J&K post 370 abrogation. We challenged the High Court order in the Supreme Court. We are grateful to the apex court who allowed our appeal -SLP and issued notice to Govt of J&K. We want to get the benefits of central land acquisition law which was extended to J&K with effect from Oct 31st 2019 but the Govt forcibly took our land under the old and outdated law in 2020 “ said Gulzar Ahmad Akhoon the petitioner in the case

The counsel of the petitioners have pleaded before the Supreme Court land which was acquired in Wathoora  has a market value of Rs 1 Crore per kanal and the aggrieved petitioners  are supposed to 4 times more compensation  under Central Act (Right to Fair Compensation Act 2013) which amounts to approximately Rs 4 Crores per kanal, but the Govt gave them mere Rs 38 lakhs plus 15 % solatium (jabirana).

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