New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday did not pass any order on a petition filed by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) challenging the Allahabad High Court verdict quashing the Uttar Pradesh government`s notification to acquire land for the company’s 8,000 MW Dadri power project.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan posted the matter for hearing on January 29 as some of the farmers had filed a caveat and were given the opportunity to contest the appeal filed by Reliance Power.
No sooner senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi started making submissions on behalf of Reliance Power, advocate M.L. Sharma said he was appearing for some of the farmers who have filed the caveat and opposed the hearing for granting stay against the High Court verdict.
Rohatgi said he has no objection for the caveators to be heard.
However, during the hearing, the Anil Ambani-led company alleged that the petition against the land acquisition for the project was motivated and a result of corporate rivalry which was seen in the gas dispute recently in the apex court.
He said the allotment of the land for the project was challenged four years after it was cleared by the Uttar Pradesh Government.
Rohatgi said that in most of the cases, farmers have withdrawn the amount of compensation for the land.
The High Court had said that State Government had side-stepped a provision inviting objections from land owners while coming out with the notification for using emergency powers to acquire land for the company.
In its appeal, RPL had contended that the High Court should not have entertained the petitions of the farmers on grounds of delay in filing them.
It said that the company had complied with the provisions of the Land Acquisition law and the project was in public interest.
About 2,500 acres of land were acquired by the state government from the farmers for the project.
The High Court judgement had come on several petitions filed by farmers challenging acquisition of the land in 2004, when the Samajwadi Party was in power in the state.
The farmers were supported by former prime minister V P Singh and Sahyog Samiti, a group of farmers to protest against the project.
The petitioners questioned the method of land acquisition, saying it was taken for a "public purpose" under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act by the Mulayam Singh government. Under these circumstances, what was the need for entering into contract with the private parties, they asked.
The High Court in its verdict had said "all subsequent proceedings consequent to the notification of February 11, 2004 are quashed".
The court had also directed the state government to resolve anomalies in land acquisition and seek fresh negotiations with farmers who were objecting to the land acquisition.
The project was planned by the Reliance group headed by late Dhirubhai Ambani much before the reorganisation of Reliance Group`s assets between the two brothers in 2005.