The Delhi High Court has held that owners of industrial areas being acquired for the planned development of Delhi cannot claim another plot as a matter of right and are only entitled to compensation under the Land Acquisition Act.
The court made these observations while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by several owners of industrial units situated on plots falling within the Jhilmil Industrial Area in East Delhi seeking an alternate plot, besides compensation.
The government had acquired land for construction of a 45-metre-wide road linking Yamuna Vihar Sports Complex, ITO Bridge, Vivek Vihar-G.T. Road and Swami Dayanand Hospital GTB Hospital. The petitioners had contended that the act was violative of Article 300 A of the Constitution which says a “person cannot be deprived of a property save by authority of law”.
But a Division Bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and SL Bhayana said: “We are of the opinion that the public purpose element of the acquisition is impervious to challenge. It is essential for the smooth and free flow of traffic in the entire area running into several square miles. Easy access to arterial roads is an urban essentiality.”
The court said the owners of the industrial units shall be paid compensation at the market value of the land together with solatium as per the provisions of the LA Act.
The Bench also cited a judgment of the Supreme Court in Ravi Khullar vs Union of India in which the claim of some of the petitioners, whose land had been acquired for allotment of alternative site, was turned down by the apex court.
“The proposal to allot lands for setting up the displaced industrial units was always turned down and it was decided that owners of such industries would only be entitled to compensation under the Land Acquisition Act. The issue of alternative land provided in Rangpuri village for residence for those ousted from Nangal Dewat village for the expansion of the Palam airport also came up during the arguments. But the court made it clear that the scheme was framed only for the affected villagers for residential purpose alone and no scheme was ever famed for rehabilitation of industrial units.”
“The petitioners do not enjoy any vested right to claim allotment of alternative plots in lieu of their properties and/or in addition to the compensation receivable by them as a consequence of the acquisition of their properties,” the Bench said.