Land Acquisition Compensation Parity Case: Restoring Reference Court’s Award

In a significant legal development, the Supreme Court of India has delivered a verdict in the Land Acquisition Compensation Parity Case. The case revolved around ensuring equality in compensation for all claimants, including the appellant-claimants, who sought parity with other landowners. The Court’s decision to set aside the High Court’s order and restore the award by the Reference Court marks a crucial step towards achieving fairness in land acquisition cases.


  • High Court of Karnataka allowed appeals filed by Land Acquisition Officer on 24.11.2008.
  • High Court observed that the same Land Acquisition Officer had acquired other land for the same public purpose with a consent award of Rs 6,00,000 per acre.
  • Principle of annual depreciation @ 15% applied by High Court to modify the compensation award from Reference Court to Rs. 5,10,000 per acre.
  • High Court held that lands of present claimants, acquired 3 years prior to 13.05.2005, could not be awarded compensation of Rs 26,000 per guntas.
  • The Land Acquisition Officer passed an award on 17.3.2003 fixing the market value at Rs.7,500/- per gunta for the acquired land.
  • The Reference Court enhanced the compensation to Rs.25,000/- per gunta based on a previous award in a similar case and proximity to Hubli City.
  • A Notification under Section 17(4) and 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was issued on 18.4.2002 for acquiring land in Yellapur Village for the Hubli Ankola Broad Gauge Railway Line.
  • The Land Acquisition Officer appealed to the Karnataka High Court against the enhanced compensation arguing that the land was ‘dry land’.
  • The affected land owners filed cross-objections seeking further enhancement to Rs.26,000/- per gunta.
  • The present appellant(s) approached the court seeking parity with other land owners after a considerable period had passed.
  • A final notification under Section 17(1) and 6(1) of the Act was issued on 19.10.2002 for acquiring the land.

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  • The issue raised in the appeal is whether the appellant(s) can be allowed to receive the same compensation despite a delay of 2928 days in challenging the High Court order.
  • It is questioned whether the appellant(s) can also seek interest on the compensation amount.
  • The matter has been previously addressed in similar cases and is not a new issue.

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  • Liberal approach should be adopted in similar matters.
  • Identically situated appellants should not be given different treatment.
  • Delay in filing and refiling Special Leave Petitions was condoned in a case, with a condition of no interest on enhanced compensation and statutory amount for the period of delay.
  • In a specific case, the order of the High Court was set aside and the compensation awarded by the Reference Court was restored.
  • Equities can be balanced by denying the appellants’ interest for the period they did not approach the Court.
  • Court’s approach in compensation cases should be pragmatic, not pedantic.
  • Delay in filing Special Leave Petition should not be a reason to deny fair compensation.
  • High Court’s inconsistency in condoning delays in similar circumstances was noted.
  • Substantive rights of appellants should not be defeated on technical grounds.
  • the impugned judgment and order of the High Court deserves to be set aside
  • judgment and order passed by the Reference Court should be restored
  • This Court has in a similar appeal against the same order, set aside the impugned judgment and restored the enhancement granted by the Reference Court
  • No reason to take a different view in the present case

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  • The appeal is allowed in part, setting aside the impugned order passed by the High Court and restoring the award passed in favor of the appellant-claimant(s) by the Reference Court.
  • The appellant-claimant(s) are entitled to seek parity and claim the same amount of fair and just compensation as other landowners.
  • The appellant(s) are not entitled to interest for the period during which they did not approach the Court.
  • The judgment and order passed by the Reference Court are restored for the appellant(s) who are similarly placed claimants.
  • Each party will bear their own costs.


Case Number: C.A. No.-009415-009415 / 2019

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