Supreme Court: Injurious Affection to Property may stand on different footing from Injurious Affection to Earnings

Supreme Court Law Insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: February, 12 2022 at 15:29 IST

The Supreme Court while dealing with Section 23(1)(iv) of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 observed that injurious affection to property, in any other manner, may stand on a different footing from injurious affection to earnings.

The Bench comprised of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V Ramasubramanian. Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan appeared for the Appellant whereas Senior Advocate Deepak Nargolkar appeared for the Respondent.

The Bench was dealing with a Civil Appeal against the Bombay High Court Order of modifying the award of the Reference Court passed under Section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. It partly allowed the Appeal by reinforcing the award of the Reference Court with respect to compensation of injurious affection to rails and sleepers.

In 1967, the Maharashtra Government approved BHIMA Irrigation Project. Before starting the construction, a survey revealed that a section of trolley line set up by Walchandnagar Industries Ltd (Appellant) might get submerged.

In 1971, a notification was published under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 that included the land on which the trolley line passed. In 1981, the Land Acquisition Officer passed an award but rejected the claim for the unacquired portion.

The Appellant not only claimed for the market value of land but also compensation for loss, and compensation for injurious affection as the trolley line had become obsolete. In 1982, the Reference Court enhanced the compensation for acquired land, and fixed an amount as compensation for injurious affection.

In 2008, Maharashtra Government filed an Appeal before Bombay High Court but it disposed of both the Appeals and modified award of the Reference Court.

Appellant’s Counsel contended that the Appellant could not be blamed for not finding an alternative route for laying trolley line as provisions of Section 17 could not have been invoked for the benefit of a company.

Respondent’s Counsel argued that Appellant had set up a bogey claim about trolley line in an unacquired part of land, and was not entitled to claim compensation.

The Bench discussed the Law on compensation of severance and injurious affection and referred to Sections 23, 24, 49 of the Act. It relied on the Judgments in RH Wernickle and Ors v The Secretary of the State for India, and Balammal v State of Madras.

The Bench upheld the submission with respect to claim related to sleepers and rails, and stated, “the acquisition of land for laying alternative trolley lines was not an easy task, especially when there were a lot of land owners. The urgency clause under Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act could not have been invoked, as the Appellant is a company.”

Also read: Analysis of Land Acquisition in India

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