As per the Land Acquisition Act, the government approval is necessary when the award sum exceeds a certain limit, the Madras High Court has said.

In his order on a writ petition, Justice V. Dhanapalan said the very object of Section 11(1) of the Act was to get approval from the appropriate government or the officer authorised for that purpose to accord approval, wherein the limit had been fixed.

As per a G.O. when the compensation exceeded Rs.10 lakh, the authority should get government approval. It could not be construed that as there was government approval for the earlier notification and declaration, that per se was sufficient for passing the award. Therefore, it was manifest from the proviso that appropriate government approval was necessary when the award amount exceeded certain limit.

The petition had been filed by A. Nagarajan and four others relating to their land measuring 0.98 hectares at Kottagoundamapatti village in Salem district.

The Tamil Nadu Housing Board had proposed a neighbourhood scheme in the village. For that, lands were acquired through the Land Acquisition Act.

The board had provided the entire sum of Rs.42 lakh as per the award of April 2003 to meet out the cost of lands with the government. The sum was the total compensation awarded for all the lands covered under the acquisition.

The petitioners contended that as per the proviso to Section 11 of the Act, the Special Tahsildar (Land Acquisition) could not pass an award without previous approval of the government. The impugned award was approved by the District Revenue Officer, which was contrary to the provision. As the award was more than Rs. 40 lakh, it should have been approved by the government.

Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said that on analysing legal principles, Supreme Court rulings and also the records, the award was not in accordance with law.

Therefore, the challenge to that extent of the impugned award alone was being interfered with.

Quashing the award passed by the Special Tahsildar, he remitted the matter back to the authorities concerned to follow the procedure in passing the compensation, if the land in question covering the award was required for a public purpose.

As per a G.O. when compensation exceeded Rs.10 lakh, government approval is needed