New Delhi: Criticising UP Government for
acquiring prime agricultural land for building luxury flats in
Greater Noida, the Supreme Court on Monday questioned the invoking
of urgency clause that bars farmers from raising objections
and said it will step in to prevent "more Nandigrams".
"Whose residential use are these flats for? Who is
building them? What are the prices? .. We want to go into
details of the case. This urgency clause is not automatically
invoked.... We do not want more Nandigrams in all states," a
bench of Justices P Sathasivam and AK Patnaik said.
The Bench said it would not like a situation similar
to Nandigaram in West Bengal where such steps to acquire land
by invoking urgency clause under which farmers cannot raise
objections led to large-scale protests and violence.
"We will not keep our eyes closed. You take it
(agricultural land) from one side and give it to the other.
This has to go and if it does not go this court will step in
to ensure that. It is development of one section of the
society only," the bench said.
The hard-hitting observations were made by the bench
during the hearing on petitions filed by Greater Noida
Industrial Development Authority and real estate developers
and builders including Supertech and Amrapali challenging the
Allahabad High Court order which had quashed the notifications
for land acquisition in Greater Noida, adjoining the national
The apex court expressed its annoyance over the
invocation of urgency clause under the land acquisition
law for taking over the land on which high-cost residential
flats were being constructed.
The High Court had on May 31 quashed acquisition of
170 hectares of land at Gulistan village in Greater Noida for
Without issuing notice, the apex court bench posted
the matter for detailed hearing on July 5.
The High Court had said that acquisition of land in
Greater Noida for residential apartments, which was done after
invoking Section 17 of Land Acquisition Act depriving the
aggrieved persons of filing their objections on the ground
that the matter was urgent, was a "colourable exercise of
power" and had quashed the notification.
The Supreme Court bench gave the observations after it
was informed that the High Court had quashed the notification
based on the contention that the agricultural land was
initially acquired for industrial purpose at a cheap price but
was later "swapped" and transferred to builders for
The counsel appearing for Greater Noida Industrial
Development Authority contended that the acquisition was part
of its "well-known" 2021 plan called the Industrial
Development Plan which is a generic term that includes
commercial and residential use.
The Supreme Court, however, asked the Authority as to
whether efforts were made at all by it to find any other land
which is not in agricultural use.
"Are you going to allot one apartment to each one of
them (farmers)? If the government is having any barren land
let that be given preference. Why should you give prime
agricultural land?" the bench asked.
The High Court order had come on the plea of
landowners and farmers who challenged the government
notification for land acquisition issued on September 5, 2007.