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Land Acquisition

Land Acquisition Act, 1984, defines land acquisition as the action of the government whereby it acquires land from its owners in order to pursue certain public purpose or for any company. This acquisition may be against the will of the owners but compensation is paid to the owners or persons interested in the land. This can be distinguished from an outright purchase of land from the market. Land acquisitions by the government generally are compulsory in nature, not paying heed to the owner’s unwillingness to part with the land.

The procedure is as follows: - The Appropriate Govt – i.e. State Govt. or Central Govt. – identifies that it requires a piece of land for public purpose or for a company. It publishes a notification to that effect in the official gazette and the substance thereof is published by the collector in a notice that he places in a conspicuous place of the land ought to be acquired. The notification of the Govt. is also published in 2 newspapers one of which is the regional language of the place where the land to be acquired is situated (section 4[1]). Within 30 days of such notification, the persons interested in the land can raise their objection to the Collector, in writing, of any of issue related to the acquisition of the land. The collector shall after making his comments forward it to the Central Govt, whose decision on the matter shall be final. (Section 5A)
After having gone through the report filed by the Collector u/s 5A (as mentioned above), the appropriate government shall publish a declaration of the intention to acquire land in the same manner as mentioned before (Section 6). The collector shall then issue a notice to the persons interested to an enquiry to be held before him regarding the key aspects on to area of land, compensation etc to make claims and stating that the Govt. intends to acquire the land (Section 9).

Section 11 states that the collector shall make an award under his hand of:-

  • The true area of the land
  • The compensation, which in his opinion should be allowed for the land, and
  • The apportionment of the said compensation among the persons interested

This award shall be made only after conducting an enquiry as per section 9 and after obtaining the prior approval of the appropriate government. After having made compensation, the govt. can take possession of the land. The land shall then vest with the govt. without any encumbrances (section 16). Section 17 states that in cases of urgency, the Govt. can acquire the land without paying compensation- though compensation will have to be paid eventually. The compensation to be paid is the market value of the land as it exists on the date of the 1st notification u/s 4 of the Act. Also, it is important to mention here that the land has to be acquired within a period of 2 years from the date of the first notification under section 4, failing which, the whole procedure will have to followed again (Section 11A).

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