A petition under Article 32 of the Constitution cannot be maintained to challenge a binding judgment of the apex court, the Supreme Court has said while dismissing a plea seeking to overrule a 2020 verdict delivered by a five-judge constitution bench pertaining to the land acquisition Act.
Article 32 of the Constitution deals with remedies for enforcement of rights and 32 (1) says that right to move the apex court by appropriate proceedings for enforcement of rights conferred by this part is guaranteed.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud was dealing with a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to reinterpret section 24 (2) of the Land Acquisition Act 2013.
It had also sought declaring that a March 2020 judgment delivered by a five-judge constitution bench and “verdicts passed therein no longer good law and accordingly over rule the same”.
“A petition under Article 32 of the Constitution cannot be maintained in order to challenge a binding judgment of this court. We, therefore, decline to entertain the petition. The petition is accordingly dismissed,” the bench, also comprising Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, said in its March 3 order.
In its 2020 verdict, the constitution bench had held that disputes over land acquisition and payment of fair compensation to owners cannot be re-opened under the ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’ if the legal processes have been completed before January 1, 2014.
It had interpreted section 24 of the 2013 Act as there were two conflicting verdicts by different benches of the apex court on the issue.
Section 24 of the Act deals with situations under which land acquisition proceedings shall deemed to have been lapsed.
The provision said if no award of compensation has been decided in a land acquisition case by January 1, 2014, then the provisions of 2013 Act will apply in determining the compensation for acquisition of land.
The provision also says if an award has been announced prior to the cut-off date, then the land acquisition proceedings shall continue under the 1894 Act.
Interpreting the provision, the constitution bench had said, “Section 24(2) of the Act of 2013 does not give rise to new cause of action to question the legality of concluded proceedings of land acquisition. Section 24 applies to a proceeding pending on the date of enforcement of the Act of 2013, i.e. January 1, 2014.”