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S.21 Of General Clauses Act Can’t Be Used To Review ‘Award’ Made Under Land Acquisition Act, 1894: Manipur HC

[17 March 2022] The Manipur High Court has recently held that Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 (“the Act of 1897”) cannot be employed to review an ‘Award’ made under the Land Acquisition Act.
The Court observed that the scheme of the Act of 1894 does not vest the land acquisition authorities with any power of review, whereby they could have undertaken such an exercise in the context of the Addendum dated 27-11-2010, which was in the nature of a supplementary Award. Contrary to that, Section 12(1) of the Act of 1894 posits that the Award, once passed, attains finality and it is not open to even the Land Acquisition Collector to tamper with it, except to the limited extent permitted under Section 13A of the Act of 1894.
While dismissing the writ appeal preferred by the State, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice M.V. Muralidaran held,
“It may however be noted that Section 21 of the Act of 1897 states that the general power to issue notifications, orders, rules or bye-laws under a Central Act would include the power to add to, amend, vary or rescind them also. However, this provision does not mention an ‘Award’, relatable to the Act of 1894, and speaks only of notifications, orders, rules or bye-laws issued under a Central Act. The nature of an Award under the Act of 1894 is entirely different from ‘notifications, orders, rules, or bye-laws’ referred to in Section 21 of the Act of 1897, as it is in the nature of a decision arrived at after hearing all the parties concerned.”

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