Allahabad: In yet another indictment of land acquisition policy of previous Mayawati government, Allahabad High Court on Wednesday quashed acquisition of 68 hectares of village land on pretext of "planned industrial development" in Greater Noida and held that invoking of urgency clause for the purpose was "tainted with malafides".
A Division Bench comprising justices Sunil Ambwani and Het Singh Yadav passed the order on a writ petition filed by Savitri Mohan, a resident of Gautam Buddh Nagar district, whose 4.6 hectares of land in Chhaprola village had been acquired vide notifications dated March 12, 2008 and February 02, 2009.
Directing the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) to return the land to the petitioner, the court also slapped it with a cost of Rs 25,000 and quashed the aforesaid notifications by which a total of 68. 12 hectares of land had been acquired.
It was submitted by the petitioner that "there has been no development on the acquired plots and no allotment has been made to any person for carrying out any development".
The court took strong exception to the fact that urgency clause was invoked to acquire the land, which deprived the petitioner, as well as other land-owners, of an opportunity for hearing.
"There was and there could be no urgency for planned industrial development of the land and there was no material on record for the state government to have come to the conclusion that the land was urgently required, applying Section 17(4) and dispensing with enquiry under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act," the court observed.
"The exercise of power to invoke urgency clause was tainted with malafides," the court remarked.
So far, acquisition of thousands of hectares of land in Gautam Buddh Nagar, during the Mayawati rule and for the aforesaid purpose, has been set aside by the court vide a number of judgements.
The previous government, which was voted out of power three months ago, has repeatedly drawn flak over the invoking of urgency clause and in many cases, changing the land use by handing over plots to private builders after acquiring these in the name of planned industrial development.