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Land acquisition verdict: CJI constitutes new bench to resolve dispute

The five-judge bench was constituted to resolve a dispute over the validity of a judgment in a land acquisition case.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2018 22:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Land acquisition,CJI,Land acquisition verdict
The bench headed by the CJI will have justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan as members.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Saturday constituted a five-judge bench to resolve a dispute over the validity of a judgment in a land acquisition case by a three-judge bench that overruled an earlier verdict by a bench of the same strength on the same issue.

The bench headed by the CJI will have justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan as members. On March 6, the bench will take up the land acquisition matter before hearing the Aadhaar petitions.

On February 8, a bench of justices Arun Misra, AK Goel and MM Shantanagouder ruled that land acquisition by a government agency cannot be set aside even if the plot owners do not accept the compensation.

It said compensation awarded to unwilling land owners is valid provided it is done with a five-year period, giving an impetus to government to acquire land for its projects.

This view was contrary to a 2014 judgment by a bench of justice RM Lodha, justice MB Lokur and justice Kurien Joseph.

On February 22, a bench of justices Lokur, Joseph and Deepak Gupta was anguished at the lack of judicial propriety displayed by Justice Misra’s bench. They termed it as tinkering with settled practise and judicial discipline and mulled at the option of referring the issue to a larger bench.

The bench also requested HCs and other SC benches to defer hearing acquisition cases involving the legal question decided in the February 8 judgment and fixed March 7 to hear the advocates before making the reference.

A day later justices Misra and Goel asked the then CJI to constitute an appropriate bench to settle the differences.

A ruling of a two or three-judge bench can be overruled only by a larger bench.

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 22:23 IST