Compensation under land acquisition law can be deducted statutorily only: SC

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The Supreme Court Tuesday said the compensation given to farmers under land acquisition law can be deducted statutorily only and the State or its instrumentalities cannot do so on other pretext.

The observations came from the bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian while dismissing the appeal of PSU Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Ltd (THDCL) against the 2018 order of the Uttarakhand High Court.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the PSU firm, said that the company had paid the compensation for the land acquired and wanted to take development charge from the recipients of developed land.

“The amount under the Land Acquisition Act can only be statutory deducted. The government cannot say it has its own policy and thus compensation will be less. Especially after the order was confirmed by the supreme court,” the bench observed during the hearing conducted through video conferencing.

The government cannot simply say that it will pay less compensation after the award has been confirmed by this court, the bench said.

“Heard Aishwarya Bhati, Additional Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the petitioner. Delay condoned. The special leave petitions are dismissed. Pending application(s), if any, shall also stand disposed of,” the bench said in its order.

The law officer said that since developed land has been given, the deduction was for the development work carried out and it covered 4,500 families. “Just because you are becoming very emphatic in your arguments, it does not mean we should give a chance to the government (PSU),” it said while dismissing the plea. The high court had dismissed the plea of the firm seeking to charge for the developed land from the recipients whose land were earlier acquired by it.