The Karnataka High Court has quashed the land acquisition process in Byadagi taluk of Haveri district for widening a state highway there.
Allowing a batch of five petitions filed by multiple property owners, the High Court has held the state government's amendment to Section 34 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Karnataka) Rules, as invalid in respect of the land acquisition process for these land owners.
By a notification dated May 16, 2020, the state had exempted social impact assessment (SIA) and determination in relation to the proposed acquisition of land for State Highway-136, including the lands of the petitioners before the High Court and other land owners.
The petitioners in all the petitions claim to be the residents residing at Byadagi taluk, Haveri district, and have been carrying on business in the market area in the said town.
Pursuant to the request dated February 20, 2019 made by the Deputy Commissioner, Haveri, the Karnataka government granted approval on September 18, 2019 for the acquisition of lands, including the lands of the petitioners for the purpose of widening Gajendragad-Sorab State Highway-136, between kilometres 237.05 to 237.90 in Byadagi town.
These owners had approached the High Court which in its final order dated March 12, 2020, directed the authorities to initiate acquisition proceedings for acquisition of the land of petitioners and other land owners by providing an opportunity to them and proceeding further in accordance with the law.
But two months later, the government issued a notification exempting the SIA, following which the property owners approached the High Court again.
Hearing the matter, Justice S R Krishna Kumar in his recent judgment said, "The amendment to Rule 34 of the said Rules of 2015 (Karnataka) is not applicable to the subject acquisition proceedings or the impugned notifications."
The High Court held that the "impugned notification dated May 16, 2020 is hereby declared and held to be illegal, invalid, inoperative, void, unlawful and non-est in the eye of law."
"Consequently, the subject acquisition proceedings in relation to the subject lands of the petitioners which were initiated pursuant to the impugned notification are also clearly illegal, invalid and unenforceable in law," the court said.
It also quashed the preliminary notification and final notification "insofar as the subject lands of the petitioners are concerned."
A total of 113 property owners had approached the High Court in five separate petitions.
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