Supreme Court in a landmark decision has directed the Punjab government to compensate the Freedom Fighter for his land confiscated by the Government of British India.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai increased the amount of compensation from ₹72,050 calculated by the Punjab government to ₹5 crore. The court noted that the value of the land is much more than ₹72,050.
“Keeping into account that the respondent’s father was a freedom fighter, generosity was shown to the respondent and an amount of ₹7,050 was granted as compensation. However, the amount of ₹72,050 does not represent the value of the land belonging to the land of the respondent’s father that was confiscated. Taking into account that the respondent is entitled to be compensated suitably for the land belonging to his father, we direct the State of Punjab to pay an amount of ₹5 crore to the respondent as full and final confiscation within a period of 8 weeks from today.”
Mr. Sampuran Singh had claimed 50 acres of land confiscated by the British Government. He passed away in the year 1958. His correspondence was found by his wife and she approached the court seeking compensation from the government.
In her petition, it was submitted that the Punjab government did not conclude the verification of the ownership of the land. The respondents couldn’t even prove that they had title over the confiscated property. According to her the compensation was given merely on the consideration that Mr. Sampuran Singh served as a freedom fighter.
“Where the High Court says that the government has come to the conclusion that the land was confiscated is wrong according to us. The verification was not concluded. They have not proved title to the property. As a benefit of doubt at our benevolence we treated the land as abandoned and not confiscated land and calculated the land 50 acres as 11 acres and market rate at that time was granted. This was done in 1968.”
Justice Rao noted that the Punjab government had admitted that the respondent was eligible for compensation, therefore, they should be given the right amount of the land.
“This is the order by which sanction of payment of ₹72050 was given, where it says that amount should be paid after verification. Then he filed a WP. Let us see the reply to WP. You have admitted that he is eligible, the only issue was the valuation of the land at market value or not. When you say you give the benefit of doubt, it means you’re accepting his case.”
A letter dated 18.07.1958 was taken into account by the court which makes it clear that there admission on the part of the government that the concerned land was confiscated by the British Government.
The court ordered the Punjab government to compensate the freedom fighter for his land. The Punjab government agreed to pay the correct value of the land to the applicant.