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Report No. 10

14. The Travancore Cochin Requisitioning and Acquisition of Property Act, 1955 (I of 1956)

This Act provides for requisitioning and acquisition of property for public purposes-property covering both movable and immovable property of every kind, including any rights in and over such property.

Section 3 lays down that if the Government is of the opinion that property is needed or likely to be needed for any public purpose the same may be requisitioned after giving notice in writing to show cause why it should not be requisitioned and if the Government is satisfied that it is necessary to do so after inquiry and hearing of the representations made by the person interested, it may requisition the same by an order in writing.

However, property used by owner as his residence or of his family and those exclusively used for religious worship or as school, college, hospital, dispensary, library or orphanage or other similar charitable institutions or for the purposes of persons connected therewith would be exempted from such requisitioning; in case of the premises being occupied by a tenant, Government shall be under an obligation to provide an alternative accommodation.

Section 7 deals with the power to acquire requisitioned property. Any property subject to requisition may be acquired for public purpose, if necessary, by publishing a notice in the gazette to that effect and after giving an opportunity to the persons interested to make their objections.

Such acquisition can be done only in the following circumstances:-

(a) where any works (buildings, structures, improvements etc.) have been constructed on the property during the period of requisition, at the expense of Government and it is decided to keep the value and the right to use of such works for the purposes of the Government;

(b) where the cost of restoring the property to its original condition at the time of its requisition would be excessive and the owner declines to accept the release without payment of compensation for such restoration to original condition.

The decision of the Government in respect of (a) and (b) above shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court.

Section 8 lays down the principles and the method of determining compensation.

Where immovable property is requisitioned or acquired-

(a) if any agreement can be reached, the amount of compensation shall be the agreed sum;

(b) in the absence of agreement Government shall appoint a person (having the qualifications of a High Court Judge) as arbitrator;

(c) if necessary, person having expert knowledge may be nominated by the Government to assist the arbitrator; likewise, the person to be compensated may also nominate an assessor,

(d) at the commencement of the proceedings, the Government and the person to be compensated may state as to what in their opinion would be fair amount of compensation;

(e) after the hearing, the arbitrator shall make an award fixing the compensation which appears to him to be just and having regard to sub-sections (2) and (3) below;

(f) apportionment shall be made by the arbitrator if there is any dispute;

(g) provisions in the Arbitration Act, 1940 shall not apply to arbitration under this section.

Amount of compensation for requisitioning immovable property shall be:

(a) a recurring payment for such period of a sum equal to the rent payable for the use and occupation of the same; and

(b) the sum necessary to compensate for

(i) pecuniary loss due to requisitioning;

(ii) expenses for vacating and reoccupying;

(iii) damages (other than normal wear and tear) caused to such property and expenses for restoration of the property to its original condition.

Compensation for acquisition of immovable property under section 7 would be the price which the requisitioned property would have fetched in the open market had it remained in the same condition as it was at the time of requisitioning, and been sold on the date of acquisition.

Section 9 provides that the compensation payable under the award shall carry interest at 6 per cent from the date on which it becomes payable in the award.

Section 10 lays down that an appeal against the award under section 8 may be preferred to the High Court within a period of 60 days.

Section 12 lays down the principles governing compensation where movable property is requisitioned or acquired.

In case of requisitioning, rules for payment of compensation shall provide for the payment of rent or other return which the property would normally fetch if allowed to be used.

In case of acquisition, the rules shall provide for the payment of compensation at the market rate prevailing on the date of acquisition.

Law of Acquisition and Requisitioning of Land Back

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