The Allahabad High Court has directed the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh to ensure that action is taken against erring officials who take the possession of the land illegally without adhering to statutory provisions. The court emphasised that before taking possession of land from its owner, the relevant provisions of law and rules must be strictly adhered to.
Disposing of a writ petition filed by Gayatri Devi and two others, a division bench comprising justice Shashi Kant Gupta and justice Pankaj Bhatia observed, “Although right to property is no longer a fundamental right but still it is a constitutional right…also a human right and no one can be deprived of his or her property arbitrarily.”
The court observed, “We are constrained to record our strong displeasure on the trend of taking possession of private land of citizens without acquisition or giving any compensation to them. Such a practice is unsound and should be deprecated in no uncertain language. State authorities for the purpose of widening roads are taking possession of private land without acquisition or giving any fair compensation as provided under the relevant law.
“Before taking possession, compensation as provided under the relevant statutes, has to be paid by the authorities. Under no circumstances should the state either acquire land or take possession in contravention of the Right to Fair Compensation Act or any other relevant statute or prescribed procedure under the law”.
“The act of the authorities concerned is in violation of the Article 14 (Right to Equality) and Article 300A of the Constitution of India. Under Article 300A of the Constitution of India, no person can be deprived of his property except by authority of law. Article 300A proclaims that a person cannot be deprived of his property merely by executive fiat without any specific legal authority or without support of law made by a competent legislature.
The petitioner had alleged that without acquiring land lawfully, the state authorities are constructing a public road over the land of the petitioners. The court directed the petitioner to file a representation in terms of the government order dated May 12, 2016 before the committee, as constituted under the said GO, headed by the additional district magistrate (finance and revenue), which will examine the matter and submit its report to the district magistrate concerned within a period of two months as provided in the aforesaid GO, who will proceed in the accordance with the said GO and pass final orders within a period of 30 days thereafter.
The court directed that a copy of this order be sent to the chief secretary of the state for strict compliance. The court also directed the registrar general of the high court to circulate this order to all commissioners, district magistrates as well as vice-chairmans of development authorities in the state.