Libertatem Magazine

Meghalaya High Court Declines To Interfere in Land Acquisition by Government

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The single bench of Hon’ble Mr Justice W. Diengdoh gave the verdict in WP(C) No. 205 of 2016. The court declined to interfere in a land acquisition done by the government. 


On  24th November 2009 Government of Meghalaya issued a notification informing the need for the acquisition of land of the 29 petitioners under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for construction of railway lines. The government used the power conferred by Section  17(4) of the act and so Section 5 (A) was not applicable. On 16.01.2010 the petitioners wrote to the  Deputy Commissioner, East Garo Hills, Williamnagar objecting to the rate of compensation. Meanwhile, on 8th February 2010, the government issued a notification under u/s 6 of the said act formally acquiring the land. The petitioners filed a formal representation to the  Executive Secretary, Garo Hills District Council, Tura seeking review of compensation on 06.03.2010. The petitioners were still awarded a lesser compensation than their demand on 14.11.2011. They sought to register their protests on the revenue records but were not allowed. The petitioners sent another letter to the deputy commissioner on 24.12.2011. The petitioners approached the High Court in W.P. (C) No 255 of 2012. The High Court instructed the petitioners to approach the deputy commissioner of  Williamnagar requesting to make a reference under section 18 of the act. The deputy commissioner on 29.09.2014 rejected the demands of the petitioners. Aggrieved the petitioners approached the High Court with a plea for quashing the order. 

Arguments of the Petitioners

Mr H.L. Shangreiso the counsel of the petitioners argued that in his affidavit in 2017 stated that no award was made under Section 11 of the LA act but was made under Section 17(4) of the act. But he contradicted it in the additional affidavit filled in 2019 where it was said the award statement was calculated under section 11 of the act. In the affidavit, it was also argued that the award was passed on 14.11.2011 but none of the petitioners lodged protest within 6 weeks as mandated under section 18. Mr Shangreiso argued that the representation sent by the petitioners on 24.12.2011 should have been treated as a letter of protest. He cited the case of M/S Steel Authority of India v. S.U.T.N.I. Sangam & Ors (AIR 2010 SC 112). Here the Supreme Court said that there was no prescribed form of protest under LA act. So he requested the high court to set aside the 2014 order.

Arguments of the State

Mr Khan appearing for the state argued that the letter dated  24.12.2011 was the subject matter of  W.P. (C) No 255 of 2012  and the court had not come to any conclusion regarding its status. The Court had instructed the petitioners to make a separate application for the condonation of the delay along with the main application. But they had not done so. Hence the application was made on 19.11.2013 after the court’s order was barred by time.

Analysis of the Court

The court said that for section 18 to be applied representation has to be made within 6 weeks. The Court observed that from the verdict of W.P. (C) No 255 of 2012 it can be observed that the court had not treated the 2011 letter as a representation because it had ordered to file a separate representation. So the petitioners cannot raise the same issue again. The petitioners also did not avail of the opportunity given to them for filing for condonation of delay. So the 2014 order is legally valid. 


The Court affirmed the 2014 order and declined to interfere. 

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