Appointment of Committees, and Option to Lease in the Land Acquisition Act 2013

A major feature of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013, (Land Acquisition Act 2013) is to provide for the establishment of National and State committees for reviewing and monitoring the implementation of rehabilitation and resettlement schemes and plans.

To provide speedy disposal of disputes relating to land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement, “the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority shall be established under a presiding officer”.

The Authority shall not be bound by any code of civil procedure but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice. Subject to the provisions of the Act and any rules made thereunder, the Authority shall have the power to regulate its own procedure. Jurisdiction of civil courts is barred, except as provided in Para 7 below.

Any person interested who has not accepted the award may, by written application to the Collector, require that the matter be referred by the Collector for dealing with any objection arising out of any procedure. The Collector shall make a reference to the Authority within thirty (30) days. If he fails to make such reference within the stipulated time, the applicant may apply to the Authority requesting it to direct the Collector to make such reference.

While determining the amount of compensation to be awarded for the land acquired, including rehabilitation and resettlement entitlements, the Authority shall take into consideration whether the Collector has followed the parameters set out under Sections 26 to 30 and the provisions under Chapter 5 of the Act.

In addition to the market value of land, as provided above, the Authority shall, in every case, award an amount calculated at the rate of twelve (12) per cent per annum on such market value for the period commencing on and from the date of publication of the preliminary notification to the date of taking over possession of the land, or the date of the award, whichever is earlier. A dispute over apportionment may be referred to the Authority by the Collector.

Any person or requiring body aggrieved by the award passed by the Authority may file an appeal to the High Court.

The appropriate Government shall be at liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of any land of which possession has not yet been taken, after paying for damages arising out of, or suffered by the owner in consequence of the notice or of any proceedings.

No change from the purpose, or related purpose, for which the land was originally sought to be acquired shall be allowed. If any land remains unutilised for a period of five (5) years from the date of taking over the possession, the same shall be returned to the original owner/owners or their legal heirs.

Whenever the ownership of any land acquired under this Act is transferred to any person for a consideration, without any development having taken place on such land, forty (40) per cent of the appreciated land value shall be shared amongst the persons from whom lands were acquired, or their legal heirs, in proportion to the value at which the lands were acquired, within a period of five (5) years from the date of acquisition.

However, for any public purpose/s referred to in Section 2(1), notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the appropriate Government shall, wherever possible, be free to exercise the option of taking the land on lease, instead of by acquisition.

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