NRI Land Buyers Get Justice After 37 Years
In a ruling that might positively impact sentiments of non-resident Indians (NRIs) as far as investment in real estate is concerned, the Delhi High Court (HC) has directed the Centre to pay compensation to 26 people for "depriving them of land in the country of their birth".
Justice might have, however, been delivered quite late — 37 years to be specific.
What was the case?
The Centre through the Ministry of Works and Housing, Land and Development, floated a housing scheme in February 1978 to allot land to NRIs in Delhi to build residential homes. This land was located on the Badarpur-Mehrauli Road.
In February 1980, the government issued a letter informing the applicants that allotment would be made after June that year. In the meantime, the applicants had also paid earnest money of Rs 10,000 each for plots. Three years later, however, it cancelled the scheme in 'public interest'.
Out of 355 applicants, 26 filed a suit for damages before the trial court which ruled in their favour. Following this, the government challenged the trial court order in the high court.
What happens now?
While delivering the verdict, the HC said the Centre had breached the contract and the shield of public policy would not become available to the government for abrogating its role as a party to a contract.
"A huge amount of faith is reposed by a person, who contracts with the government and the role of the government in the said contractual sphere is that of a promisor. The shield of public policy would not become available to the government for abrogating its role as a party to a contract," it said.
It also directed the government to pay a compensation of Rs 11.20 lakh based on the market rate prevalent in 1981. The government will have to pay the amount to the NRIs within eight weeks.
With inputs from Housing News