A Supreme Court bench cleared up a key ambiguity in the amended Land Acquisition Act last week by saying that delays caused by litigation would count under the legislation, a move that’s seen as positive for landowners but could mean things becoming difficult for governments at the state and Centre as they look to get projects off the ground. The clause says if physical possession of land has not been taken or compensation has not been paid to the landowner five years after the initiation of acquisition proceedings, the landowner is entitled to reclaim possession of the land. Justices FMI Kalifulla and SK Singh ruled a “plain reading” of the relevant clause made clear that it “does not exclude any period during which the land acquisition proceeding might have remained stayed on account of stay or injunction granted by any court”.
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