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  India   All India  23 Feb 2018  Land cases sent to CJI as two benches in SC disagree

Land cases sent to CJI as two benches in SC disagree

THE ASIAN AGE. | J VENKATESAN
Published : Feb 23, 2018, 3:01 am IST
Updated : Feb 23, 2018, 3:03 am IST

However, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi has shown to us an order passed (by Justice Lokur’s bench) on Wednesday (to defer the matter).

Supreme Court of India (Photo: Asian Age)
 Supreme Court of India (Photo: Asian Age)

New Delhi: A larger bench of the Supreme Court will hear on Friday matters relating to land acquisition following a “judicial disagreement” over decisions of two different three-judge benches in the award of compensation to those whose lands were acquired for development projects.

Two two-judge benches of the apex court on Thursday referred matters listed before them to the CJI for a hearing on Friday and deciding an appropriate bench to take up the land cases.

 

The urgency for referring the matters to the CJI seems linked to a batch of over 30 cases relating to land acquisition in Gujarat listed for hearing on March 6 soon after the Holi holidays.

On Thursday, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy referred a matter to CJI for constituting an “appropriate bench” to deal with the “piquant” situation that has arisen after a “controversial order” was passed by a bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Deepak Gupta on Wednesday asking two-judge benches to defer hearing land acquisition matters that had been listed on Thursday and Friday.

Another two-judge bench, comprising Justices A.K. Goel and Uday Lalit, also sent Haryana-related land case to the CJI for deciding an appropriate bench for its hearing.

 

Justice Goel and Justice Lalit noted, “On April 18, 2016 this matter was directed to be listed after the decision in Indore Development Authority case. As a three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, A.K. Goel and Shantanagouder had decided the matter on February 8, this matter is posted before us today.”

However, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi has shown to us an order passed (by Justice Lokur’s bench) on Wednesday (to defer the matter).

“The issues involved in the matter need to be resolved by a larger bench at the earliest. These matters may be placed before the appropriate bench tomorrow i.e. February 23, as per orders of the Chief Justice of India,” it said.

 

On February 8, the three-judge bench led by Justice Mishra, in the Indore Development Authority case, had ruled that in a land acquisition case, once the amount of compensation has been unconditionally tendered and it is refused, that would amount to payment and the obligation under section 31(1) of the 2013 Land Acquisition Act stands discharged. The bench had upheld IDA’s land acquisition proceeding on this ground.

During the hearing, Justice Mishra’s bench had overruled a 2013 verdict of a different three-judge bench headed by former CJI R.M. Lodha in a land acquisition matter related to the Pune Municipal Corporation.

A piquant situation arose in the Supreme Court on Wednesday when Justice Lokur’s bench did not agree with the February 8 verdict by Justice Mishra’s bench overruling the decision given by a bench headed by former CJI Lodha.

 

Pending the reference, Justice Lokur’s bench requested all the high courts not to render any final decision on petitions relating to higher compensation for land acquisition under the 2013 fair compensation law.

The bench had said, “We are not going into the merits or correctness of the decision by Justice Mishra’s bench. We are only concerned with judicial discipline. Can a three-judge bench overrule the judgment of another three-judge bench. If they differ on the correctness of an earlier decision, they can only refer the matter to the CJI for a decision by a larger bench.”

Tags: supreme court, mukul rohatgi