Land once acquired by state free from all claims: Supreme Court
Land acquired by authorities after its possession and payment of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act vests with the State, free from all encumbrances, the Supreme Court has said.
A vacation bench of justices M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose agreed with the view of the Allahabad High Court that any person retaining possession of the land thereafter has to be treated as a trespasser.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by a Uttar Pradesh resident, challenging a notice dated February 2 issued by the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority, asking him to remove unauthorised encroachments over a piece of land situated under its notified area.
The top court noted that the petitioner’s land was acquired, its possession taken over and the payment of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 paid.
“In that view of the matter, the petitioner has no right to occupy and/or continue with the possession, as after the acquisition, the land absolutely vests with the state government. The high court has rightly refused to interfere and we are in complete agreement with the view taken by the high court.
“Therefore, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned order in exercise of our powers under Article 136 of the Constitution of India. The Special Leave Petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” the bench said.
The high court had said after the acquisition of land and passing of award, the land vests with the State, free from all encumbrances.
The Uttar Pradesh government had contended that the possession of the land in question was taken in 1996 and even the entry of the revenue record was changed. However, the petitioner had encroached the area again, it had said.
“Any person retaining the possession thereafter has to be treated as a trespasser. When a large chunk of land is acquired, the State is not supposed to put some person or police force to retain the possession and start cultivating on the land till it is utilised. The government is also not supposed to start residing or physically occupying the same once the process of the acquisition is complete.
“If, after the process of acquisition is complete and land vests in the State free from all encumbrances with possession, any person retaining the land or any re-entry made by any person is nothing else but trespass on the State land,” the high court had said.
(With inputs from agencies)