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Report No. 10

Law of Acquisition and Requisitioning of Land

The Land Acquisition Act

1. Introduction.-

The power of the sovereign to take private property for public use (called in America Eminent Domain-an expression believed to have been first used by Grotius) and the consequent rights of the owner to compensation are well-established. In justification of the power, two maxims are often cited: salus populi est suprema lex (regard for the public welfare is the highest law) and necessitas publica major est quam privata (public necessity is greater than private necessity). A critical examination of the various stages of evolution of this power and its ethical basis will serve no useful purpose as the power has become firmly established in all civilized countries. In England, the source of the power is Parliament. The earliest consolidating enactment was the Land Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845. This has to a large extent been altered by later statutes.

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