The Supreme Court has upheld the acquisition of 673.29 acres of land by the Haryana government in Panchkula district for the Kalka-Pinjore urban complex project.
A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya dismissed a batch of special leave petitions and lifted the stay on the construction by several developers. The Supreme Court had stayed the project for over eight months.
In its order the Bench said “it will not go into the issue of legality of the land acquisition as the only argument made before the Punjab and Haryana High Court was related to the competence of K.K. Amrohi, the District Revenue Officer (DRO) to perform functions of a Collector and no other issue was considered and decided by the High Court.”
The Bench said “The sole argument that Mr. K.K. Amrohi was not specially appointed as Collector has not impressed us. It may be true that Mr. Amrohi had not been specifically conferred the powers of Collector but at the same time it has come on record that he was posted as Land Acquisition Officer, Urban Estate, Panchkula against a vacant post, vide order dated April 22, 2008. While discharging such functions he made recommendations regarding acquisition in question. Therefore, the same cannot be invalidated. It is at best a mere irregularity, which would not vitiate the acquisition proceedings.”
The Bench said “Furthermore, on November 20,.2008, the State of Haryana has issued a notification appointing all the Sub-Divisional Officer(C), District Revenue Officers and Land Acquisition Officers in Haryana, who have passed the departmental examination and have attained the experience of working for a period of six months, as Assistant Collector Ist Grade and Land Acquisition Collectors within their respective jurisdiction. Once that notification is taken into consideration, there remains no doubt that Mr. Amrohi who was holding the post of District Revenue Officer was competent to perform the functions of the Collector under the Act.