Govt told to compensate owners for acquired land
Kathmandu, June 28
The Supreme Court has upheld that the government can acquire individuals’ land for public use but it must duly compensate the affected parties.
The apex court upheld this in full texts of the verdict delivered in a case filed by 47 locals, including Sanu Shrestha, against the government’s decision to expand Tribhuvan Highway from Kalanki to Nagdhunga without paying compensation to the affected parties. The government had decided to expand the road by three metres on either side.
The apex court also told the government to pay compensation to the affected parties and simultaneously continue road expansion as halting the work was creating problems for the public and causing environmental pollution. The SC said all relevant laws, including Land Acquisition Act, had provisioned that the affected parties must be paid compensation which the government should abide by.
The apex court said the government had paid compensation to individuals four decades ago when it expanded the road and the same rules were not followed this time when a decision to expand the road was taken by the Secretary of Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, government on December 11, 2014.
The apex court also said that the line minister had taken a decision on February 3, 2009 to expand the road by paying compensation to the affected parties but the processes to compensate the affected parties were not followed and the secretary’s decision to expand the road without paying compensation to the affected parties was a violation of the February 3, 2009 decision taken by the line minister.
The government also issued a directive order to the government telling it to fix the road boundary only after acquiring land for the same.
It said that the government must treat citizens’ right to housing sensitively and it should not do anything that could adversely affect their rights unless the government faced a compulsive situation to do so. The apex court also told the government to make provisions for children’s education when building roads in residential areas. It said that the government must judiciously pay compensation to those affected by the road expansion drive.
The SC also told the government to prefer settling land disputes though dialogue as this was simple, easy and effective method for settling such issues.
The apex court said expanding road without paying compensation to the affected parties would violate their right to property.