A bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said in a judgement that courts should view with “suspicion” the action of the government in acquiring land for private parties in the name of urgency.
“Court should not adopt a pedantic approach, as has been done in the present case, and decide the matter keeping in view the constitutional goals of social and economic justice and the fact that even though the right to property is no longer a fundamental right, the same continues to be an important constitutional right and in terms of Article 300-A, no person can be deprived of his property except by authority of law,” Justice Singhvi, writing the judgement, said.
The apex court passed the judgement while quashing the acquisition of 205 hectares of agricultural land in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar by the state on behalf of the Greater NOIDA Industrial Development Authority for business enterpreneurs in March 2008.
The land owners Radhy Shyam and others had challenged the acquistion on the ground that the government invoked Section Section 17(1) and 17(4) of the Land Acquisition Act empowering it to dispense with the process of inviting objections from the victims as mandated under Section 5A of the legislation.
The high court had dismissed the land owners’ plea, after which they appealed in the apex court.
Upholding the landowners plea, the apex court said if land is acquired for the benefit of private persons, the court should view the invoking of Section 17(1) and/or 17(4) with suspicion and carefully scrutinize the relevant record before adjudicating upon the legality of such acquisition.