SC to hear on Singur land act case in March

New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear, in March, the West Bengal government’s plea challenging the Calcutta High Court order holding unconstitutional its legislation to reclaim 400 acres given to the Tata company for returning to the affected farmers.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice A.K.Sikri in a brief order said: “List the matter for hearing on a non-miscellaneous day in the month of March 2015.”

The order came after all the parties sought the hearing of the matter in which notice on West Bengal government’s petitions were issued to Tata Motors Aug 24, 2012.

The West Bengal government had challenged the June 22, 2012 Calcutta High Court order holding unconstitutional its Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act to reclaim the land. However, the high court had given the state government two months to appeal in the apex court against its verdict and allowed the government the possession of the land till then.

The apex court by its Aug 24, 2012 order had said that the “Interim order passed by the high court (permitting the state government to hold the possession of land for two months while allowing it to move the apex court within two months) shall continue till final disposal of the petition”.

The act was enacted by Mamata Banarjee’s government to reclaim the land so that it could be returned to the farmers who had resisted the takeover of their lands and had not even accepted the compensation in lieu of that. They had initiated the litigation for return of their lands.

In 2006, the West Bengal government – then of the Left Front – had acquired 997.11 acres of land out of which Tata Motor was given 645.67 acres of land for setting up their ambitious Nano car project.

The land was acquired by the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation.

The West Bengal government had contended that “despite possession being handed over to the Tata Motor and its approved vendors, the small care project could not be set up by them”. Tata Motors had later moved their Nano car project to Gujarat.

This, the state government had contended, clearly frustrated the public purpose sought to be achieved by acquiring the land and handing it over to Tata Motors for the project. “Thus the public purpose for the acquisition of lands stood completely and irreversibly defeated and frustrated,” it had maintained.

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