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IMPACT OF DELAY IN FILING SLP ON THE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION ALLOWED: SC

Ningappa Thotappa Angadi (Dead) through LRs. V. The Special Land Acquisition Officer and Another CIVIL APPEAL NO.9415 OF 2019 – [Arising out of Special Leave Petition(C)No. 11015 OF 2017] – 13.12.2019

The Special Land Acquisition Officer acquired land situated in Yellapur village u/s 17(4) & 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act. The acquisition restrained the affected land owners from alienating or creating charge over the said land. The Land Acquisition Officer passed an award of Rs.7500/- per gunta with respect to the acquired land. Aggrieved by the order, the appellants sought reference u/s 18 of the act seeking enhancement of the compensation. The Reference Court enhanced the compensation to Rs.25000/- per gunta. The Land Acquisition officer appealed the HC of Karnataka. This court did not grant compensation of Rs.26000/- per gunta and it applied the principal of annual depreciation and modified the award of Reference Court and reduced the compensation to Rs.510000/- per acre. The affected land owners filed SLP to this court.

The issue before the court is whether the appellants get their requested compensation despite delay in filing the appeal and whether they are entitled to seek interest as well?

The court heard the arguments of the counsel perused the record. It referred the judgment in Dhiraj Singh (Dead) through LRs. and Others v. State of Haryana and Others “Equities can be balanced by denying the appellants’ interest for the period for which they did not approach the Court. The substantive rights of the appellants should not be allowed to be defeated on technical grounds by taking hypertechnical view of self-imposed limitations. In the matter of compensation for land acquisition, we are of the view that approach of the Court has to be pragmatic and not pedantic”. In Imrat Lal & Ors. v. Land Acquisition Collector & Ors  it was observed in this case that the delay in filing the SLP cannot deny just and fair compensation to the claimants. In Huchanagouda v. Assistant Commissioner and Land Acquisition Officer the court condoned the delay and restored parity the grant of compensation with a condition “that for the period of delay in filing and in refilling the Special Leave Petitions, the appellant-claimant(s) shall not be entitled to any interest on the enhanced compensation and statutory amount.”

The appellants are similarly placed claimants. Thus they are entitled to seek parity and claim the amount of compensation as that of the other landlords. However interest cannot be allowed for the period for which they did not approach the court. Thus the HC order is set aside and the award allowed by the reference court is restored. But the appellant cannot be allowed an interest to the enhanced compensation and statutory amount for the period of delay in filing the appeal.

– Priyadharshini R

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