New Delhi, Aug 25: Compensation given by the government to farmers while acquiring their land should be decided on the basis of its market value, the Supreme Court has held.
While increasing the base price from Rs 2.75 lakh per hectare to Rs 4.09 lakh per acre for the land which was acquired by the Punjab government, a bench of Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma said that the owners are entitled to the highest value which similar land in the locality is shown to have fetched.
The court passed the order on a bunch of petitions filed by the land owners seeking enhanced compensation for their land which is situated on the Ambala-Chandigarh Highway. While fixing the price, the apex court took into consideration the various deals in which the land was sold around the time of issuing notification and the highest price was Rs 4.08 lakh per hectare.
“After all when land is being compulsorily taken away from a person he is entitled to say that he should be given the highest value which similar land in the locality is shown to have fetched in a bona fide transaction entered into between a willing purchaser and a willing seller near about the time of the acquisition,” the bench said while referring to its earlier judgement.
In this case, the state government had issued notification for acquiring 550.03 acre of land in Patiala district in 1992 for setting up of industrial plant there. Not satisfied by the compensation given to them, the land owner had approached the lower court which fixed the price at Rs 1.50 lakh per acre. They then approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court for further enhancement which fixes it at Rs 2.75 lakh per acre.
The land owners and the state government then moved the Supreme Court challenging the high court order. The apex court after hearing dismissed the plea of the state government and increased the compensation to Rs 4.08 lakh per acre saying that “it was a valuable land for the land owners and it had great potential”.
“In 1992, the market value of the same, at the time of issuance of notification under Section 4 of the Act, would be much more than what has been awarded to them vide the impugned judgement,” the bench said after looking at the various land deals at the time of issuing notification.
“Needless to say, once the industry is set up, it would be for the financial benefit and gain of the corporation (which is given land) year after year. Thus, looking to the matter from all angles, Corporation would be a great beneficiary at the cost of depriving the appellant – land owner of his sole livelihood of agriculture. Therefore, it is neither desirable nor proper to deduct more than 10 per cent of the amount in the base price fixed by us at Rs. 4.08 lakh acre. PTI