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Property Lawyer: Denotification of part of acquired land u/s 48 of Land Acquisition Act cannot be done in contravention of layout plan; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice M. R. Shah

The SC { M/S. VINAYAK HOUSE BUILDING COOPERATIVE SOCIETY LTD. v. THE STATE OF KARNATAKA  & ORS.} holds that when an application u/s 48 of Land Acquisition Act, 1894, is made for de­notification of the land, the government has to consider   the   same   with   great   care   and   caution.   The government has to consider the application keeping in mind the  subservience  of  public   interest  because   the   lands  are being acquired for public purpose.   The government should not exercise   this   power   in   an   arbitrary   and   whimsical manner.  The decision of withdrawal from acquisition should be  bona fide  and backed by valid reasons. It is further held that it is settled that the  government could  not  withdraw land from acquisition without giving the beneficiary of acquisition an opportunity of being heard. 

It was further held by the SC that if the order of de­notification is allowed to stand, in the present case,  the   very  object   of   the   planned   development   of  the layout would be lost. There will be shortage of civic amenity sites in the layout and it would no  longer be possible to set the street alignment and the building line as per the approved plan.   This   will   have   adverse   impact   on   the   planned development of the layout leading to public inconvenience. It will nullify the object and the purpose for which Planning Act and the BDA Act have been enacted by the Legislature.

It was further held that experience has shown  that the lands are being denotified before taking possession or dropped from acquisition before   the   issuance   of   declaration   by   the   government   are mostly at the instance of land mafias in connivance with influential persons; political or otherwise.   These lands are generally   situated   within   the   layouts   in   major   cities   and specially   in   Bangalore   city.     After   de­notification,   multistoried complexes come up on these lands comprising of large number of residential and non­residential units. This has a direct   impact   on   the   existing   infrastructure   consisting   of water supply, sewerage and lighting.   Similarly, the traffic movement facility   suffers   unbearable   burden   and   is   often thrown out of gear because the original scheme/layout plan did not envisage construction of these complexes.

According, the denotification of land in question was set aside by the SC and also the judgment of the HC. 

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