SC orders prompt compensation for farmers

Apex court calls for appropriate rehab of displaced farmers

Expressing concern about the plight of many farmers who are left litigating with the government to claim compensation for acquired land, the Supreme Court told the authorities to ensure "prompt payment of realistic compensation to" and "appropriate rehabilitation measures" for aggrieved peasants.

"Having lost his land, and consequently the means of livelihood, the land loser had to engage a lawyer and wage a legal fight for a reasonable compensation," a bench of Justices RV Raveendran and JM Pachal said while scrapping a Karnataka government appeal challenging the high court's appeal ruling that enhanced compensation to a farmer from Rs5,300 an acre to Rs40,000.

"Unless an effort is made by the government to ensure prompt payment of realistic compensation with appropriate rehabilitation measures, land acquisitions lead to great tragedy and ruination of poor families," the court said.

"Having lost his land, and consequently means of livelihood, the land loser had to engage a lawyer and wage a legal fight for reasonable compensation," the bench observed.

"But the land loser was not given enhanced compensation and the state government instead kept filing appeals," the bench said while disapproving the state's approach.

"The result is except the paltry amount, which a farmer should have received in 1991, the land loser has not received compensation for nearly 17 years and had to fight before three courts, for a compensation of Rs40,000," the judges lamented.

"Apart from the fact that the land loser would have spent virtually the entire amount for litigation, whatever he may ultimately receive will not get him even one-fourth or one-fifth of the extent of land he lost in the acquisition," the judges observed.

"Unless the acquisition gives him reasonable compensation either at the time of or immediately after dispossession, the compensation will be a mirage for most land losers," the bench ruled.

Rakesh Bhatnagar/ DNA-Daily News & Analysis Source: 3D Syndication

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