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Derivation of property can only be in accordance with law: HC

Srinagar, Aug 11: Derivation of property of a person can only be in accordance with law when it is for public welfare and is just, fair and reasonable, the High Court of J&K and Ladakh has said.

Allowing a petition filed by a person whose shop was taken by security forces from time to time in early 1990s, a bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar said that a person cannot be deprived of his property without the authority of law.

“Prior to abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India, the right to property was a fundamental right in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. Even after application of all the provisions of the Constitution of India to this part of the Country, in view of the provisions of Article 300A of the Constitution, a person cannot be deprived of his property without the authority of law,” the court said, adding, “Derivation of property of a person can only be in accordance with law when it is for public welfare and is just, fair and reasonable. It would be reasonable only if the person concerned is awarded just compensation.”

The court was hearing a case in which petitioner had stated that he was running the business of sale of furnishing and allied items in a Shop owned by Srinagar Development Authority at Nalamar Road, near Nawakadal Chowk Srinagar. However, he said, the shop was occupied by the Security Forces in the month of January, 1990, as a result of which he was unable to carry on any business activity. Till the year 2002, he said, the shop remained under the occupation of different security agencies like CRPF, BSF etc and in March, 2003, the petitioner took over possession of the shop.

He said that the authorities did not compensate him for the losses which he suffered to his business on account of closure of his shop.

“The respondents (authorities) are directed to assess the losses that were suffered by the petitioner because of occupation of his shop by the Security Forces,” the court said, adding, “After undertaking the exercise, the respondents shall pay the amount of assessed compensation to the petitioner.” The court ordered that the exercise shall be completed by the authorities within a period of two months.

In case the amount is not paid to the petitioner, the court said, the assessed compensation shall carry interest @6% per annum from the date of the judgment.

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