Supreme Court: Right to Claim Compensation is in-built in Article 300A

Khushi Doshi

Published on: April 27, 2022 at 18:40 IST

The Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Right to Seek Compensation for land acquired by the Government is guaranteed under Article 300A of the Constitution.

Justices Vikram Nath and Dinesh Maheshwari referred to the Supreme Court’s decision in KT Plantation Private Limited and others Vs. State of Karnataka, which lays out two requirements that must be met when a person’s property is taken away: the land must be used for a public purpose, and Compensation must be paid.

The Court emphasised that Article 300A of the Constitution plainly States that no one’s property can be taken away from them unless they have the power to do so.

The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal from a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, which had decided against the Appellants, who were all farmers seeking Compensation for land acquired for the construction or extension of a public bypass route. They threw aside a Single-Judge Decision that the current Appellants, all farmers, were entitled to Compensation for land taken for the construction of a public bypass road.

The High Court erred in transferring the burden of proof to the Appellants to prove their lack of voluntary surrender, even though Article 300A is not a basic right, the Bench concluded.

The Supreme Court also found that it would be wrong to say that there was “significant delay on the side of the appellants in pushing for their rights,” based on the various Arguments given.

Noting that there was no Evidence of Voluntary Surrender on the record, the Supreme Court stated that the lack of a Compensation Programme, as relied on by the Division Bench, is irrelevant.

The Supreme Court disagreed with the Division Bench’s conclusion that the farmers in question had sought Compensation from the incorrect Authorities.

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