Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: The Bench of Krishna S. Dixit, J., allowed petition filed by a senior citizen challenging wrongful usurpation of his property.

Respondent herein had unauthorizedly appropriated petitioner’s land measuring 63,162 square feet without any acquisition process, for the formation of roads, parks. Petitioner was given no compensation for his land even after 16 years of acquisition. Aggrieved thereby, he filed the instant petition seeking restoration of his land and compensation of Rs 5 crores for illegal utilization of his land.

Petitioner’s contention was that respondent’s act was a gross violation of his constitutional right to property guaranteed under Article 300-A of the Constitution of India.

The Court took note of respondent’s resolution proposing to give 50 percent of the site area to petitioner and observed that instead of taking steps for implementation thereof, respondent passed another resolution stating that in view of one government order, petitioner would be granted 50 percent of the developed area, which was unconscionable. The second resolution was also not given effect.

It was opined that the institution of private property is the focal point of constitutional jurisprudence. Forcible or non-consensual taking away of property by the State or its instrumentalities, sans lawful acquisition process offends the pith and substance of Article 300-A which guarantees protection to private property from State interference. It was held that State and its instrumentalities cannot justify usurpation of private property without legal process on the ground that the same was for public use.

In view of the above, the respondent was directed to give ownership and possession of the developed area of subject land to the petitioner and pay Rs 1 lakh as damages.[P.G. Beliappa v. Bangalore Development Authority, WP No. 56283 of 2018, Order dated 01-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: The Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, J. accepted the application seeking bail where the applicant was a woman and had a 10-year-old daughter.

In the pertinent case the main allegation against the applicant was that she had entered into an agreement for sale with certain agriculturists whose land was under acquisition and as an implication was in conspiracy with public officials, knowing fully well in advance that a huge sum of money will go as a compensation, even though no prudent person would enter into an agreement for sale for a land which is under acquisition. Although the counsel for the applicant contended the land for which the agreement for sale was executed was not the same land, which was under acquisition. And the counsel for the State rebutted by distinguishing it on facts and argued that some of the land indeed was the area which was under acquisition.

The Court without going into the facts contended, granted bail to the applicant, considering the fact that she is a woman and has a 10-year old daughter, who needs to be looked after. Also, the fact that she was already in jail since 21-03-2018, the Court considered it to be a fit case to grant bail. [Priya Sharma v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 138, Order dated 01-03-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: The Bench of Prabhat Kumar Jha, J. dismissed a civil writ petition claiming employment in lieu of acquisition of land on the ground that there was no policy of the Indian Railways for the same.

The instant petition sought a writ of mandamus directing the respondent to grant appointment to the petitioner in Group-C or Group-D post in the East Central Railway as per her educational qualification since her land had been acquired for construction of Neura Daniyama rail line.

The Court noted that petitioner was granted a compensation of Rs 5,26,687.92 after acquisition of her land. She never raised any objection or filed any petition before the concerned authority for providing her a job. Also, she had moved this court after long delay of more than ten years from the date of acquisition of her land without any plausible explanation. 

Reliance was placed on the judgment of Apex Court in Umesh Kumar Nagpal v. State of Haryana, (1994) 4 SCC 138 where it was held that petitioner has no fundamental right to claim job in lieu of acquisition of his land for the purpose of completion of project, besides compensation for acquisition of the land. Admittedly, there was no policy for providing employment to the landlord whose lands had been acquired for completion of the aforesaid rail line project. In view thereof, it was held that the petitioner could not claim employment in lieu of acquisition of her land as a matter of right.[Neera Devi v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2328, decided on 05-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: In the instant case where question was raised upon the legality of the acquisition of State Bank of Travancore (SBT) by the State Bank of India (SBI), the Division Bench of Navaniti Prasad Singh,C.J. and Antony Dominic, J. held that the law of meeting is well settled on points as to where the decision of the Board of Directors is to be taken, except otherwise provided, a majority decision would be considered the ultimate decision of the Board of Directors. The Court observed that since the dissent by the two directors as to the acquisition of SBT by SBI were in gross minority, therefore it would not vitiate the ultimate decision of the Board of Directors who were in the favour of the process of acquisition.

Petitioners in the instant case contended that the SBT was created by an Act of Parliament i.e. The State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks) Act, 1959, thus, banking business of the SBT could not be taken over/ acquired by the SBI and only Parliament could have authorised such acquisition. However the Court rejected the argument stating that it is wrong to state and submit that the creation of the SBT under the 1959 Act meant that was a bank created by  Parliament. Moreover Section 35 of the State Bank of India Act, 1955 authorises SBI to acquire business of any other Banks subject to conditions laid down in the Act.

Perusing the facts of the case and relevant statutory provisions the Court observed that the SBT was created as subsidiary of the SBI under the SBI Act, 1955. It was further observed that reports regarding the acquisition were placed before the Board of Directors of both the Banks and the scheme was approved by the Central government which thereby leaves no room for the Court to interfere in the matter. Thus, on the basis of all the arguments, the Court was unable to find any merit in the writ petitions and dismissed it. [Save SBT Forum v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Ker 1257, decided on 23.03.2017]