RAJAMMA Vs. PROJECT DIRECTOR, NH.A1
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
Project Director, Nh.A1
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(1.) 0.303 hectares of property belonged to the petitioner has been acquired for widening the National Highway 47 in accordance with the provisions contained in the National Highways Act, 1956 (the Highways Act). As the compensation granted to the petitioner by the competent authority under the Highways Act for the land acquired was not acceptable to the petitioner, she preferred an application before the third respondent for determination of the compensation by recourse to the arbitration proceedings provided for under sub-section (5) of S.3G of the Highways Act. Pursuant to the said application, an award has been passed by the third respondent determining the compensation payable to the petitioner. Though the amount of compensation determined as payable to the petitioner by the competent authority under the Highways Act was enhanced by 30% in terms of the award passed by the third respondent, the said compensation was also not acceptable to the petitioner. The petitioner, therefore, challenged the award passed by the third respondent invoking S.34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (the Act) before the Court exercising the power under that section. The Court found that the compensation granted to the petitioner was less than the compensation granted in respect of similarly placed properties acquired earlier for the very same purpose invoking the provisions contained in the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and therefore, the impugned award is opposed to Public Policy. It was also found by the Court that the impugned award is vitiated on account of non - compliance of the principles of natural justice. On the aforesaid grounds, the Court set aside the award invoking its power under S.34(2) (b)(ii) of the Act. Ext.P1 is the order passed by the Court in this connection. In the light of Ext.P1 order, the petitioner preferred Ext.P2 representation before the third respondent to initiate arbitration proceedings afresh for determination of the compensation payable to her. The grievance voiced by the petitioner in the writ petition concerns the inaction on the part of the third respondent in initiating fresh proceedings for determination of the compensation payable to her.
(2.) Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner, the learned Government Pleader, the learned Standing Counsel for the National Highway Authority of India as also Adv. Rahul Varghese, the learned Amicus Curiae appointed in the matter.
(3.) The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that insofar as the award passed by the third respondent under sub-section (5) of S.3G of the Highways Act has been set aside by the Court, otherwise than on merits, the third respondent is bound to commence the arbitration proceedings afresh and pass an award determining the compensation payable to the petitioner.;
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