While underlining that publication of intended land acquisition in less read/ little known newspapers may amount to fraud on the State, and fraud on the right to property of citizens, the High Court of Madras came down heavily on the State’s bureaucracy.
The Bench cited four Supreme Court rulings where the Court frowned upon the practice of
publications of notifications, information etc. in less known publications with the least circulation.
The notification in question was published in a newspaper called Trinity Mirror which was supposed to have a wide circulation in Hosur Taluk.
Issues Before the Court
- Since the word locality is not defined, it means a particular village where the property in question is located, or District or Taluk concerned.
- Since it is not proved that Trinity Mirror has a wide circulation, why was the notification published in it and not in other newspapers?
- Whether the word circulation refers to numbers of copies sold or is the volume of readership?
Observations of the Court
According to the Court, the Act intended that the notification reaches the maximum number of people; therefore, it would only mean readership and not the number of copies sold.
The Bench noted that the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency of Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act but even State laws require that notifications be published in at least one vernacular newspaper and one English newspaper that has a wide circulation in that particular locality.
Expressing their dissatisfaction, the Court remarked that the bureaucracy did not understand the law regarding the issue even after two decades. They also don’t respect Article 261 of the Constitution of India.
The direction of the Court:-
The Bench suo-motu impleaded the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Government as a respondent in the matter and posted the case on 12.02.2021 for further hearing.