The Supreme Court has held that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) has got a right to invoke the “urgency” clause to acquire any land in the metros without undergoing the necessity of inviting objections from aggrieved land owners.
A Bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan cleared decks for DMRC to go ahead with the construction of Chattarpur Metro Station on Qutub Minar-Gurgaon Corridor at Mehrauli over a 26,187 sq mtr. piece of private land before the Commonwealth Games in October.
The apex court rejected the argument of Rajinder Kishan Gupta, a land owner, that the authorities had no power to invoke the urgency clause, as according to him the acquisition should have been done under the Metro Railway Act which has no such provision.
Interpreting the law, the apex court said if any land is required for construction work relating to metro rail in the metropolitan cities, the authorities are free to apply the Metro Railways Act and acquire any land.
“But at the same time, there is no specific prohibition in the Metro Railways Act from applying the Land Acquisition Act to acquire any land for a public purpose, more particularly, for the construction work relating to metro railways in the metropolitan cities.
“Since Section 17 of the Act enables the authorities to dispense with enquiry under Section 5A and to complete the acquisition proceedings without any delay, urgency clause under Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act was invoked,” Justice Sathasivam writing the judgement said.
While Section 5A mandates the authorities to give due notice and opportunity to the aggrieved land owners to air their objections, Section 17 dispenses with the provision enabling the authorities to acquire the land under for an urgent purpose.
The Delhi High Court had earlier rejected the land owner’s plea, following which he had appealed in the apex court.