The Supreme Court has quashed a Delhi government notification acquiring over 80 bighas land for setting up an electric sub-station by Delhi Transco Ltd in Mandoli village.
The government had acquired 80 bigha and 15 biswa land, including 21 bigha and 3 biswa belonging to one Darshan Lal Nagpal and others by invoking emergency clause on the ground that it was for "public purpose".
The SC reversed the decision of the Delhi High Court that had upheld the land acquisition.
A bench headed by justice GS Singhvi said though a decision was taken for establishing the sub station as early as in 2004, the compulsory acquisition under Section 17(emergency clause) were made five years thereafter.
The bench said the government cannot compulsorily acquire private properties by casually invoking the "urgency clause" unless there was a genuine need.
However, the court gave liberty to the authorities to initiate fresh acquisition proceedings after giving opportunity to the land owners to be heard.
Under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act, land owners have to be compulsorily heard. But once, the emergency clause is invoked, the hearing is dispensed with.