Yes. The Supreme Court has said that once the Government takes possession of land, it belongs to the Government and the landowner no longer has ownership of the land.
Does the law regulate government acquisition of land?
Yes, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 seeks to ensure a humane, participative, informed and transparent process for land acquisition.
The law aims to make land acquisition easier with least disturbance to landowners and other affected families, in consultation with institutions of local self-government and Gram Sabhas. Further, it provides just and fair compensation to the affected families and makes provisions for their rehabilitation and resettlement.
For what purposes can the Government acquire land?
The Government can acquire land for its own use, hold and control, including for Public Sector Undertakings and public purposes. The purpose can be industrialisation, development of essential infrastructural facilities, urbanisation etc. For example, the Government can acquire land for strategic military purposes, infrastructure projects involving agriculture, to build roads etc.
Does the Government have to take the consent of affected families?
Yes, prior consent of affected families is required when the Government acquires land for:
- Public-private partnership projects (prior consent of seventy percent of affected families)
- Private companies for a public purpose (prior consent of eighty percent of affected families)
Does the Government have to compensate the affected families?
Yes, you will get compensation if the Government acquires land. The Collector of a revenue district determines the market value of the land to be acquired, and calculates the total amount of compensation to be paid to the landowner by including all assets attached to the land.
While deciding the compensation amount, the Collector takes into account:
- Market value, minimum compensation amount (as per the Act’s First Schedule), and rehabilitation and resettlement costs (as per the Act’s Second Schedule).
- Damage incurred by the person due to the loss of any standing crops and trees on the land.
- Damage incurred by the person due to severing the land from any other land that they own.
- Damage incurred by the person if the acquisition injuriously affects their other property (movable or immovable), or earnings.
- Connected expenses if the person is forced to change their residence or place of business due to the acquisition.
- Damage resulting from decreased profits of the land between the time when the Government announces the acquisition and when the Collector actually takes possession of the land.
- Any other factor for the purpose of equity, justice and benefit to the affected families.
What can a person do if they are not satisfied with the compensation amount?
Any concerned person who objects to the compensation amount can submit a written application to the Collector within six weeks, asking them to refer the matter to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority. The Collector should refer the matter within thirty days of receiving the application. If the Collector does not make the reference within the specified period, the applicant can apply to the Authority requesting it to direct the Collector to make the reference to it within thirty days.