Urban landscape in Udaipur, India

Do the Meek Inherit the Earth? An analysis of land acquisition litigation in Karnataka and Maharashtra

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The right of the State to acquire property for industrialisation and economic reform to further the development of our country, was until recently, recognized and governed as per the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. In 1984, the Act was amended to allow the government to procure land on behalf of a private company using the public purpose clause. The compulsory nature of acquisition, the inadequate compensation given to landowners, and lack of rehabilitation provisions were a few of the flaws of the 1894 Act. Severe criticism of and discontent against the 1894 Act’s several shortcomings ultimately paved the way for a new Act, i.e., the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Act, 2013. 

This paper primarily examines the nature of land acquisition litigation in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka under the 1894 Act, to understand if the 2013 Act has tackled the root causes for such litigation. Through its analysis of district court data pertaining to disputed acquisitions and the efficiency of the courts in handling them in Maharashtra and Karnataka, the paper presents some interesting findings, particularly with respect to the nature and pendency rate of disputed land acquisition cases. The paper concludes that though the 2013 Act has made the land acquisition process more transparent, the volume of litigation will not come down unless the scope for discretion in executive action is reduced. 

You can find here the research paper as well as consolidated and state-wise policy briefs on land acquisition litigation in Karnataka and Maharashtra.