Come out with suitable compensation policy for land owners: SC

New Delhi: Amidst growing land acquistion rows across the country, the Supreme Court on Tuesday suggested the government come out with a "reasonable compensation policy" to meet the geniune grievances of land owners.

A vacation bench of justices G S Singhvi and C K Prasad felt if a proper monetary compensation policy was evolved by the government the frequent disputes over acquisition of lands by government would not arise.

"We think if the state formulates a reasonable compensation policy, then these type of disputes would not arise. We are frequently witnessing these type of problems.

Why don`t you come out with a proper compensation policy for the land owners"? the bench told Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra.

The counsel agreed with the suggestion that a proper compensation policy ought to be set up to avert such disputes.

He said the government was already in the process of coming out with a suitable mechanism to deal with the issue.

Bhatta Parasul in Uttar Pradesh was in the news recently over alleged arbitary land acquistion by Mayawati government even as the Singur and Nandigram land acquisition disputes were considered to be a prime factor for the recent rout of the CPM-led Left Front government in West Bengal.

The apex court made the remarks while granting time to Delhi government to explore a compromise with certain land owners at Harsh Vihar whose 80 acres were acquired for the ostensible purpose of setting up a power grid by Delhi Transco for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

During the hearing, the bench referred to the apex court`s recent judgement that property was a Constitutional right which the government cannot deprive a person of in an arbitary manner.

In the judgement, the apex court had held that courts should view with "suspicion" the action of the government in acquiring land for private parties in the name of urgency.

The apex court had quashed the acquisition of 205 hectares of agricultural land in Uttar Pradesh`s Gautam Budh Nagar by the state on behalf of the Greater NOIDA Industrial Development Authority for business enterpreneurs in March 2008.

The land owners Radhy Shyam and others had challenged the acquistion on the ground that the government invoked Section Section 17(1) and 17(4) of the Land Acquisition Act empowering it to dispense with the process of inviting objections from the landowners as mandated under Section 5A of the legislation.

The high court had dismissed the land owners` plea, after which they appealed in the apex court.