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Gujarat HC: State Cannot Refuse To Pay Compensation When It Acquires Private Land For Public Purpose

The bench also stated that in cases where the state will not pay compensation three years after using the land, the Court would impose exemplary damages on the state instrumentalities.

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The Gujarat High Court recently held that state cannot refuse to pay compensation to a citizen when it acquires private land for public purposes.

The direction was issued after the Court was informed that the petitioner preferred the instant plea after 39 years. 

Bench comprising Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri heard a plea moved by a farmer whereby compensation was sought from the state for using his piece of land for construction of a canal in Vadnagar district. He claimed that the state had not paid any compensation to him. 

The Court observed that, "The State, if acquires a private property for a public work cannot later say a no to granting compensation. If it seeks to acquire a land parcel it ought to pay proper and just compensation. In the instant case, the illegality committed by the authorities of depriving the petitioner of his valuable land has continued for all these years."

It was noted by the Court that while the acquisition proceedings were underway, the state started using the land in question illegally.

The Court asked the petitioner to claim interest for only a period of 3 years.

The bench also stated that in cases where the state will not pay compensation three years after using the land, the Court would impose exemplary damages on the state instrumentalities.

It was finally ordered that compensation be paid to the petitioner in an expeditious manner.


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