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Compulsory yet Fair Acquisition of Land: Assessing Procedural Fairness of Compulsory Acquisition Process in India

Jyoti Shukla

Journal of Property Research, 2021, vol. 38, issue 3, 238-261

Abstract: Coerciveness built in the process of compulsory acquisition (CA) induces a perception of unfairness among the affected landowners and may alleviate with fair compensation and due process. This research focuses on the latter and aims to identify issues of unfairness perceived by the affected landowners using six criteria of procedural fairness from the legal literature including ethicality, representativeness, bias-suppression, accuracy, correctability and consistency. While procedural unfairness is a concern in many geographies (see for Scotland), this research adopts a case-study approach given the geographical specificity of CA laws and examines Indian process for its relatively recent modification under the newly enacted CA act of 2013. The paper undertakes a qualitative content analysis of court case reports on the Bangalore–Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project and interview transcripts of forty-seven landowners whose land was acquired using Karnataka Industrial Area Development Act of 1966 (a precursor to the new act). This research argues that fixing following issues is crucial to improving the landowners’ perception of fairness: ethical behaviour by the acquirers; representativeness of the affected landowners; quality information throughout the process; accountability of acquirers; neutral review of objections; unbiased assessment of compensation; and inexpensive conflict resolutions.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1080/09599916.2021.1892802

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