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After 21-Year Delay to Appoint Arbitrator, SC Declines to Review Compensation

A bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao observed that the Court could not prolong the case anymore when the appointment of an arbitrator for deciding the amount of compensation had consumed more than two decades.

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Updated:March 4, 2018, 10:29 AM IST
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After 21-Year Delay to Appoint Arbitrator, SC Declines to Review Compensation
File image of Supreme Court. (Image: PTI)
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has refused to review quantum of compensation in a land acquisition case, expressing regret that appointment of arbitrator alone had taken 21 years.

A bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao observed that the Court could not prolong the case anymore when the appointment of an arbitrator for deciding the amount of compensation had consumed more than two decades.

It dismissed the appeal filed by the Central government, through Ministry of Defence, which was ordered to pay compensation for acquiring a chunk of land in Punjab.

"Since the appointment of an arbitrator took about 21 years, we are not inclined to interfere with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court. Accordingly, the special leave petition is dismissed," said the bench in its recent order.

It pointed out that the landowners were compelled to move to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1997 for an appointment of an arbitrator under the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act for determination of the compensation of the acquired land.

"But since neither you accepted their request nor the High Court did decide their case before 2011, they did not get their due. We cannot prolong these proceedings anymore. This must come to an end now," the bench told Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, who was appearing for the MoD.

The government was aggrieved by the award passed by the arbitrator, Ludhiana in March 2016.

It contended that the interest, as has been granted by the arbitrator from the date of filing of the writ petition in 1997, is not correct.

The MoD argued that interest should have been from the date of passing of the award by the arbitrator, who was appointed in May 2012 following the HC order.

The HC had upheld the award after noting that appointment of the Arbitrator is a mandate under the statute and hence the government failed in its duty to appoint such arbitrator without delay.
| Edited by: Puja Menon
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