A bench of justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu said the state had seriously erred in acquiring the land by denying the land owners their valuable right to raise objections and being heard to express their grievances.
The apex court had recently quashed the state government's acquisition of vast tracts of land in Noida, a decision which had hit hard major real estate developers and thousands of house owners who had invested in these projects.
In the present case, the apex court said the emergency clause under Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act was invoked by the government in a lackadaisical manner even though the state had sufficient time to go through the normal procedure of inviting objections and addressing the grievances of the land losers.
Section 17 grants the government unbridled power to acquire any private land for a public purpose without inviting objections from the aggrieved land owners.
"The series of events shows lethargy and lackadaisical attitude of the state government. In the light of the above circumstances, the respondents are not justified in invoking the urgency provisions under Section 17 of the Act, thereby depriving the appellants of their valuable right to raise objections and opportunity of hearing before the authorities in order to persuade them that their property may not be acquired," Justice Dattu said writing the judgement.