The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that all the buyers who had invested in the controversial Noida Housing Project would be entitled to complete refund of money, including interest, from the builders.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly, which had on July 6 quashed the acquisition of over 156 hectares of land acquired by the Greater Noida Land Authority, said that the purchasers "shall be entitled to get back the amount along with interest at an appropriate rate and if the builders refuse to prepay the amount. Then they shall be free to avail appropriate legal remedy."
The order will benefit over 6000 people who had booked the flats in residential complexes being built by realty firms like Amrapali and other prominent builders at Greater Noida.
The apex court said it would be a great injustice of the acquisition was not quashed as it involved the livelihood of the farmers.
"It will be a great injustice to the people belonging to the latter category if the acquisition inpunged before the high court is sustained only with a view to save the investment made by those who are aspiring to acquire some property from the builders.
"However, it is made clear that those who have paid money to the builders for booking flats etc shall be entitled to get back the amount along with interest at an appropriate rate and if the builders refuse to repay the amount, then they shall be free to avail appropriate legal remedies."
The apex court said that the "only source of livelihood of the poor farmers have been deprived by the authorities in most arbitrary and malafide manner without following the procedure established by law".
"We are not unmindful of the plight of large numbers of persons who made investment by booking flats, etc but at the same time it is impossible to ignore that the land owners and transferees have been deprived of their property," the apex court said.
The bench said that the acquisition of land is a serious matter and before initiating the proceeding under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and other similar legislations, the concerned government must seriously ponder over the consequences of depriving the tenure holder of his property.
"It must be remembered that the land is just like mother of the people living in the rural areas of the country. It is the only source of sustenance and livelihood for the land owner and his family. If the land is acquire not only the present but the future generation of the land owner are deprived of their livelihood and the only source of security," the bench said.