Karnataka High Court halts the process of acquiring land for a new highway

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Karnataka High Court halts the process of acquiring land for a new highway

The Karnataka High Court halted the land acquisition procedure in Byadagi taluk of Haveri district to expand a state roadway there.
The High Court has ruled that the state government’s amendment to Section 34 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement (Karnataka) Rules is invalid regarding the land acquisition process for these land owners, granting a batch of five petitions submitted by multiple property owners.

The state had exempted the social impact assessment (SIA) and determination regarding the proposed purchase of property for State Highway-136, including the petitioners’ and other landowners’ properties, by notification dated May 16, 2020.

All petitioners state that they are inhabitants of Byadagi taluk, Haveri district and that they have been operating a business in the town’s market area.

The Karnataka government approved on September 18, 2019, the acquisition of lands, including the petitioners’ lands, to widen Gajendragad-Sorab State Highway-136 between kilometers 237.05 and 237.90 in Byadagi town, in response to the request made by the Deputy Commissioner, Haveri, on February 20, 2019.

These landowners approached the High Court, which, in its final ruling of March 12, 2020, instructed the authorities to begin acquiring the land of petitioners and other landowners by giving them an opportunity and moving forward in the process.

But two months later, the government announced that the SIA was exempt, prompting property owners to reapply to the High Court.

In his latest ruling after hearing the case, Justice S R Krishna Kumar stated that the revision covers neither the contested notifications nor the subject acquisition processes to Rule 34 of the Rules mentioned above of 2015 (Karnataka).

The High Court found the May 16, 2020, “impugned notification” to be “illegal, invalid, inoperative, void, unlawful, and non-est in the sight of the law.”

The court stated that this made the subject acquisition procedures for the petitioners’ subject lands start in response to the challenged notification, “obviously unlawful, invalid, and unenforceable in law.”

Regarding the petitioners’ subject lands, it also revoked the preliminary and final notifications.

Five petitions from 113 property owners have been filed with the High Court.

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