Land acquired for public purposes cant be re-alloted

New Delhi: Land acquired for public purpose cannot be re-alloted to other beneficiaries, the Supreme Court has ruled castigating politicians and authorities for perpetuating a land racket in Jaipur city which witnessed litigation for over two decades.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly also chided the Rajasthan High Court for upholding the allotments despite the Supreme Court`s earlier rulings that the Land Acquisition Officer under the Act (Land Acquisition) has no power to allot land but can only grant monetary compensation to the claimants.

It regretted that the Government and the High Court chose to misinterpret recommendations of a panel headed by the Urban Development Minister for allotment of the land measuring 552 bighas to certain vested interest despite the fact that there was no statutory sanction.

It was a "crude attempt by the concerned political functionaries of the State to legalise what had already been declared illegal by this Court," the bench said.

The controversy related to acquisition of land on May 13, 1960 by Rajasthan Improvement Trust to acquire 552 bighas of village land at Bhojpura and Chak Sudershanpura for planned development of Jaipur city including a building for the State Legislative Assembly

It was alleged that initially a committee headed by the then Urban Development Minister Ms Kamala in the early 1970s suggested the Land Acquisition Officer decided to allot the same land to certain vested interest at the rate of Rs.8/- per square yard, instead of using the land for the stated public purpose.