Supreme Court orders four landowners in Hejo to accept compensation at govt. rate

Upholding the judgment passed by the Larger Bench of the High Court, the Supreme Court ordered four landowners in Hejo to accept compensation at the government rate for their land acquired by the Thromde. The Supreme Court passed the judgment on Monday. Of the 58 landowners whose land was identified under the development of the diplomatic enclave, four landowners refused to accept compensation at the government rate. They appealed to the Supreme Court last year.  

The diplomatic enclave was planned in the Thimphu Structural Plan 2002-2027 for 16 embassies and missions after acquiring about 32 acres of land near the Indian Embassy at Hejo.

The Land Act states that government may acquire registered land for the public interest. However, the legal representative of the landowners said that the land acquired was not intended for the public interest.

To this, as submitted by the thromde, the judgment states that the diplomatic enclave is important for the country. Bhutan as a developing country should ensure friendly relations to embrace development like any other country.

As per the judgment, the landowners should be compensated as per the Property Assessment and Valuation Agency rates under the Finance Ministry like other landowners. While the landowners asked for the current commercial market rate for their land, the thromde submitted that it is difficult to determine the market rate and that the owners of the acquired land should be compensated at the government rate as per the Land Act.

Moreover, the judgment stated that the land was acquired through the proper procedure as per the Constitution and the Land Act. According to the judgment, it was initially planned, passed through the Cabinet, and also notified the respective landowners about the need to acquire their lands.

The court also ordered the four landowners to pay forty-five thousand ngultrum to the Thromde as litigation cost.

Kinley Dem

Edited by Sonam

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