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State cannot compel voluntary relinquishment of land when owners are not inclined: Karnataka HC

January 25, 2023 09:03 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:44 am IST - Bengaluru

The State government cannot compel landowners to voluntarily relinquish land for public purposes merely because some other landowners have given up their land on their own, the High Court of Karnataka has said.

No legal ground

“If others have given up their land, that cannot be a legal ground to compel the petitioners to give up their land too, since constitutionally guarantee avails to the property of individuals and not necessarily the collection of individuals. An argument to the contrary would undermine the sanctity and efficacy of Article 300A of the Constitution and therefore, cannot be countenanced,” the court said.

Justice Krishna S. Dixit made these observations while partly allowing the petitions filed by K.V. Srinivas Rao and several others from Sagar in Shivamogga district. The petitioners had complained that the State authorities are exerting pressure on them to relinquish their land on their own as was done by the owners of a few other properties for widening a road in Sagar Municipal Council limits.

The court agreed with the arguments made on behalf of the petitioners that the State authorities cannot compel them to give up their land when they are not ready to do so, the only option available to the authorities to acquire the land as per the law.

The court made it clear that the State authorities cannot interfere with the possession of the land belonging to the petitioners for road widening except by resorting to acquisition as per the law, namely the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

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