Land Acquisition and Property Rights: Upholding Constitutional Principles

Explore a pivotal legal case that centers around the profound implications of land acquisition and property rights. The court’s meticulous legal analysis emphasizes the constitutional principles that safeguard the rights of individuals in matters of land ownership and acquisition. Stay tuned to unravel the intricate legal framework governing property rights.


  • Late Man Bahadur Basnett passed away in 1991, leaving the property to the appellant (now represented by his two sons).
  • The disputed land was partially fenced and had a farm, barracks, and an office.
  • The land was recorded in the names of the Maharaja of Sikkim and Man Bahadur Basnett.
  • The Agriculture Department of the Government of Sikkim sought to acquire 8.36 acres of land in 1980 for a regional center, leading to the current dispute.
  • The appellant served a notice in 2002 against alleged trespass but received no response.
  • The appellant then filed a suit in 2002, claiming that the acquisition process under the Sikkim Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1977 was not followed.
  • The Defence claimed that the acquisition was done properly in 1980, and compensation was paid to Man Bahadur Basnett.
  • The trial court dismissed the suit in 2006 on grounds of limitation and merits.
  • The High Court upheld the dismissal in 2008, focusing on the aspect of limitation and adverse possession.

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  • The respondents failed to establish acquisition of the land in accordance with the law and payment of due compensation.
  • No plea of adverse possession was made by the respondents.
  • The process of acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act was not proven by the State.
  • No records were available regarding the acquisition process.
  • The State failed to provide evidence of withdrawal of compensation amount or receipt acknowledging payment.
  • Absence of both primary and secondary evidence regarding acquisition proceedings.
  • The court emphasized strict compliance with procedures outlined in the Land Acquisition Act.
  • Rights in land remain a constitutional right under Article 300A of the Constitution of India.
  • The right to property is a human right and cannot be taken away except in accordance with the law.
  • Forcibly dispossessing a person of their property without due process of law violates their human right and constitutional right under Article 300 A of the Constitution.
  • The State must comply with the procedure for acquisition, requisition, or any other permissible statutory mode.
  • In cases where justice demands, the constitutional court will exercise its jurisdiction to promote justice.
  • Delay and laches cannot extinguish the right to property, especially in cases of continuing cause of action or where circumstances shock the judicial conscience of the Court.
  • The State cannot dispossess a citizen of their property except in accordance with the established procedure of law, and deprivation without legal sanction is not permissible under Article 300 A.
  • State Government does not have the same license as individuals when it comes to certain matters.
  • Efforts were made to mediate the issue and reach a mutual agreement, but these attempts were unsuccessful.

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  • Mesne profits to be determined by a Court Commissioner appointed by the trial court.
  • Payment for use and occupation to be determined in accordance with law.
  • Alternative direction by appellate court for refunding land revenue not applicable.
  • Respondent-State given three months to decide whether to acquire the land through proper notification or surrender possession.

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Case Title: D.B.BASNETT (D) THR. LRS. Vs. THE COLLECTOR (2020 INSC 239)

Case Number: C.A. No.-000196-000196 / 2011

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