LAND ACQUISITION LAWS AND LAND DISPUTES

Published On: 2 October, 2023

Authored By: Arshita Jain
Symbioisis Law School, Noida

LAND ACQUISITION LAWS AND LAND DISPUTES

INTRODUCTION:

The most common transaction that takes place concerned with the land is the sale and purchase of it in a free household. This process begins with a seller who advertises a house for sale and forms an estate agent. Buyers can see a variety of houses and make an offer to purchase the best one they wish to buy.

Once the buyer’s offer is accepted and, the sale is agreed it becomes a promise. After this, the consideration is involved which is the money for the seller and the house in return for the buyer. The formalities involved are to bind it legally and it is the buyers’ responsibility to carry out all checks and inquiries with a standard form.

LAND ACQUISITION IN THE COUNTRY:

1)      History:

India faces a major issue of land due to its economic gap from the colonial and post-colonial eras. It started with Bengal Regulation I Act of 1824 where Britishers adopted state acquisition laws. After the State Acquisition Act, of 1894 was drafted it was extended to all parts except India. India became a republic in 1950 and this act was still applicable. Article 31 of the Indian Constitution protects the property rights of citizens and under the seventh schedule of the Constitution, ‘Land’ is a ‘state’ subject[1] and becomes a part of the legislative domain. In 1991, when the country was privatized under the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 government could acquire private lands for industrial development.

2)      Study on Land Acquisition and Disputes:

According to legal research done in 2013 and 2014, it was seen that there were a lot of conflicts over coal mining and even irrigation. There were also different magnitudes according to which these disputes varied.

There is also another problem related to the land acquisition laws which is that the real market value of a property is calculated incorrectly and the compensation provided is even more less than the value that is calculated. Awards in usual cases given by the district courts are much better than the ones given by the government.

A study by Devesh Kapur, a political scientist also framed out the underlying cause of hindrance towards development which is the lack of land resources. Sanjay Charkravorty also conducted research according to which compensation becomes difficult as even the lands in rural areas have increased their prices by 5-10 times.

3)      Research on Legal framework:

The act provides a procedure through which a person can give compensation to those whose lands have been taken by the government for public purposes. The government for this purpose directs the collector to provide a legal framework and then to provide compensation accordingly. The collector in this case has to hold a meeting with claimants and reach a point where both the parties agree to a certain compensation.

There are also provisions for urgency that allow them to take urgent possession of a property and mandate them to pay the amount at 9% interest per annum.

4)      Disputes in Indian Context:

In India, there is a lot of bulk of cases and most of these cases are related to Land Acquisition. For public purposes as well, there shall be an inquiry conducted. However, the Act had 5 major problems

a)      The property rights are only with the one who owns the easement interests in land. In Bihar, this issue was raised earlier but the committee did not recommend it further but called it important to discuss this issue.

b)      The second issue is that the Act uses the term ‘Public purpose’ which can be interpreted in various manners thus causing an ambiguity.

c)      The third problem is the incorrect market value taken to compensate the claimants.

d)      Another issue raised is the lack of consent that is given by those evicted from their lands. This leads to a lack of accountability on the part of the rule of law.

e)      The compensation value must also be calculated by proper tribunals rather than the subjective discretion of the collector.

THE LAND ACQUISITION ACT OF 2013-

It is a more just law as it gives-

1)      Provisions mentioning the interests of the interested people.

2)      Includes a list of purposes for which there should be the government’s discretion on legitimate or illegitimate purposes.

3)      Contains provision on social impact and expert opinion but the urgency was still an exception.

4)      On the provision of urgency there was a clear demarcation on what grounds it can be invoked so that there is no misuse.

5)      Proper rehabilitation and acquisition awards must be compensated.

The Act also has private as well as public companies partnership projects and the consent of the general public was to be sought under gram sabha or panchayati raj.

Despite such strong provisions, there were problems in this Act as for ‘Public purpose’ consent was not required, and the establishment of structures in those areas where a certain population would be affected.

CONCLUSION:

The new laws are much better than the older ones and have expanded the provisions. The infrastructure projects under public-private partnerships resulted in private capital in general. The democratic structure that was in place introduced many more changes in favor of farmers and peasants but wasn’t passed by the legislature. State is now much more accountable to affected communities but there is always a scope of these laws being challenged and their implementation may become a legitimate ground for battle.

REFERENCES:

       Web Resource:

  1. Blog  |  25 .11. 2014  |  Rights and Resources Initiative, ‘As Modi Government in India Proceeds with Economic Development Agenda, New Map Tracking Land Disputes Shows Disturbing Pattern of Conflicts with Local People – Rights + Resources – Supporting Forest Tenure, Policy, and Market Reforms’ (Rights + Resources – Supporting Forest Tenure, Policy, and Market Reforms – Supporting Forest Tenure, Policy, and Market Reforms, 16 March 2020) https://rightsandresources.org/blog/as-modi-government-in-india-proceeds-with-economic-development-agenda-new-map-tracking-land-disputes-shows-disturbing-rise-in-conflicts-with-local-people/ accessed 8 September 2023
  2. Quint T, ‘’Land Acquisition Disputes in India: What Does the Law Say and How It Impacts Those Involved.’ (TheQuint, 20 October 2021) https://www.thequint.com/podcast/land-acquisition-disputes-explained-the-law-and-challenges-impacting-various-communities-involved accessed 8 September 2023
  3. Standard B, ‘Devesh Kapur, T V Somanathan & Arvind Subramanian: Land-Shackled – I’ (Business Standard, 20 July 2014) https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/devesh-kapur-t-v-somanathan-arvind-subramanian-land-shackled-i-114072000708_1.html accessed 8 September 2023
  4. Ritimo, ‘Land Acquisition and State Policy in India’ (ritimo, 9 May 2018) https://www.ritimo.org/Land-Acquisition-and-State-Policy-in-India accessed 8 September 2023

Journals:

1)      Ram Singh, “Inefficiency and abuse of compulsory land acquisition: An Enquiry into the way forward”, 47(19) Economic and Political Weekly 46 (2012); see also Ram Singh, “Litigation over Eminent Domain Compensation”, International Growth Centre Working paper (September 2013)

2)      Dubey A [2018] The Extent, Causes, And Implications For India’s Land Policies: Story Of Uttar Pradesh

3)      Wahi N, ‘Land Acquisition in India: A Review of Supreme Court Cases from 1950 to 2016’ [2017] SSRN Electronic Journal

4)      Ritimo, ‘Land Acquisition and State Policy in India’ (ritimo, 9 May 2018) https://www.ritimo.org/Land-Acquisition-and-State-Policy-in-India accessed 8 September 2023

5)      (Characterising land and property-related litigation at the Delhi High Court) https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3745655 accessed 8 September 2023

6)      India legal S, ‘Process of Land Acquisition’ (Legal Service India) https://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l257-Process-of-Land-Acquisition.html accessed 8 September 2023

     Books:

1) Chakravorty S, The Price of Land: Acquisition, Conflict, Consequence (Oxford University Press 2013)


[1] Entry 18, List II of the Constitution, provides, “Land, that is to say, rights in or over land, land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agricultural land; land improvement and agricultural loans; colonisation.”

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