Photo used for indicative purpose only. Source internet
Shimla, Dec 2
The National Highway Authority of India is currently developing Kirtpur-Manali, Kalka-Shimla four lane and Pathankot-Mandi National Highways and acquiring private lands, but Geological surprises and other hurdles are forcing it to changing survey of proposed projects.
Similar matter was decided by Himachal High court while disposing a petition on November 25 against NHAI as affected petitioner Sukh Dev who knocked the door of Court to know the legal provisions.
As per the case, the land of the applicants was acquired under the NHAI act for the construction of Pathankot Mandi National Highway. Land Acquisition Officer passed a notification on  October 20 2020 and  acquisition was announced on December 11, 2020. Now said piece of acquired land was transferred  of the government.  The Award also passed in favour of land loser on March 13, 2013.
The applicants alleged that the government was not releasing the compensation amount to them despite the award being passed.
NHAI stated that the acquired land is 60 meters above the actual tunnel therfore acquired land was not required for the construction of the tunnel, nor it to be used for the construction of the highway project in future.
NHAI moved to High’ court to seek permission to return the said land to the land owners for reuse. The court said that there is no such provision in the law while important provision in land acquisition cases, has said that the land acquired by the government cannot be returned to the land owner again.
While clarifying the legal position, the court rejected the demand of NHAI and ordered them to release the compensation amount for the applicants’ land within 28 days.
Single bench of HP high court of Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua said in the order that there is no such provision in the law that the government should return the acquired land to the land owner. The court said that after acquisition, when the land is in the name of the government, the owner of the land has nothing to do with the use of that land. The land owner is only entitled to fair compensation. The government will have to follow the rules, after the acquisition the government could avoid the compensation of the land by saying that it does not want the acquired land.
The government has no such power to return the acquired land to the respective land owner, nor is the land owner entitled to demand back the acquired land on any ground. Unless the acquisition process itself is challenged, the land owner couldn’t demand his land back, court added. NHAI also forced to pay double compensation to land losers after frequently changing the Survey.
It is worthwhile to mention that one of such land loser Sanjeev Sunta also lamented that government should conduct environmental and geographical study of acquired land properly before issuing award to them as displacement of people also loose the Livilihood and Goverment have to pay the compensation uncessary.
More than 30,000 litigation are pending in various revenue and other courts due to lack of uniform policy related to similar awards.
One of litigant Rakesh Chauhan told us that NHAI acquired one third of his built up area near at Bhatakufar for Kalka-Shimla four lane.
NHAI had now changed the survey of Four lane he said that four Biswa plot went useless to him. Number of similar litigations in the state are piling in various land tribunals or courts which increase social unrest among people in number of places.


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