Responsibility of SLAO has to be limited.
The point mentioned is what I have been trying to make since I was Chitnis in Nashik.Most people only refer to section 18 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894, conveniently forgettingsection 20 of the same Act. While it is the responsibility of the SLAO to accept the referenceunder section 18 and forward it to the Civil Court, under section 20, it is the responsibility of theCivil Court to issue notice to the Collector if the reference contains details regarding the valuationof land, trees and structures. Till such notice is received, the Collector is under no duress to respondlegally to the Civil Court. Even the references presented to the Collector/SLAO are worded in sucha way that make SLAO a party to the case, whereas the simple logic is that when the Land Acquisitionproceedings are commenced the AB is the applicant and the land owners are the non-applicants.Therefore by common logic, when the land owners become the applicant (under section 18 reference)the AB automatically becomes the non-applicant. We should therefore reject such references where Collector/SLAO are made parties, but we still send them to the Civil Court. Once the Civil Courtentertains such references, it goes by the Code of Civil Procedure (which most of us are notfamiliar with). This leaves us at the mercy of the AGP (in lighter vein Anti-Government Pleader!).It is time we make some effort to reduce our own problems! K Suryakrishnamurty