New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled government has to strictly comply with the twin conditions of acquiring land for "public purpose" and adequately fulfilling the "compensation" claim to the oustees.

"Public purpose is a pre-condition for deprivation of a person from his property under Article 300A and the right to claim compensation is also inbuilt in that Article and when a person is deprived of his property, the state has to justify both the grounds," a five-judge constitution bench headed Chief Justice S H Kapadia said.

It said justification of the grounds may depend on scheme of the statute, legislative policy, object and purpose of the legislature and other related factors.
   
The bench said the same principle would be applicable for the acquisition of land of foreign investors.

The issue of foreign investors was dealt by the bench as the Karnataka government had acquired the land which was sold to a private company K T Plantation by Russian-origin Roerich couple related with the family of nobel Laurette Rabindranath Tagore.

"Deprivation of property may also cause serious concern in the area of foreign investment, especially in the context of international law and international investment agreements.”

"Whenever a foreign investor operates within the territory of a host country, the investor and its properties are subject to the legislative control of the host country, along with the international treaties or agreements. Even, if the foreign investor has no fundamental right, let them know, that the rule of law prevails in this country," the bench said.

The bench, which also consisted of justices Mukundakam Sharma, K S Radhakrishnan, Swatanter Kumar and Anil R Dave said citizens right for compensation against such acquisition is derived from Article 300 A and statues and special Acts made by the government to acquire the property of a citizen is always amenable to judicial review.

"Any law, which deprives a person of his private property for private interest, will be unlawful and unfair and undermines the rule of law and can be subjected to judicial
review," the apex court said adding "but the question as to whether the purpose is primarily public or private has to be decided by the legislature, which of course should be made
known".

"The concept of public purpose has been given fairly expansive meaning which has to be justified upon the purpose and object of statute and the policy of the legislation. Public purpose is, therefore, a condition precedent, for invoking Article 300A," it said.

(Agencies)