Allahabad: In a major embarrassment to
Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court
on Thursday set aside notifications issued for acquisition of more
than 100 hectares of land in Gautam Buddh Nagar district for
"planned industrial development" in Greater Noida.
A division bench comprising Justice Sunil Ambawani and
Justice Kashi Nath Pandey, while allowing a bunch of writ
petitions filed by residents of Shahberi village in the
district, said the entire action of acquiring the land was a
"colourable exercise of powers" and ordered return of the land
to their owners.
The bench set aside two notifications issued by the state
government on 10.6.2009 and 9.11.2009 for acquiring the land.
In the notification dated 10.06.2009, the state
government had proposed "to acquire a total area of 156.93
hectares of land in the village while the one dated 9.11.2009,
published in the official gazette, had declared the
acquisition of land.
Passing the order, the court remarked "the entire action
of acquiring the land was an colourable exercise of powers.
"The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority was
fully aware and was planning to use the land in village
Shahberi and neighbouring villages for multi-storey housing
complexes to be developed by builders on relaxed conditions".
The court noted with concern "that on one hand, a request
was made for acquiring the land for public purpose for planned
industrial development and on the other hand, a few days
before the proposals were put up before the state government
for issuing notification (dated 9.11.2009)... the GNOIDA,
without informing the state government, held the Board`s
meeting for converting the land use for residential purposes
to lease off the land to builders for housing complexes for
"The land is proposed to be acquired at the rate of about
Rs 850 per square meter and to be given, within a month, to
the builders at Rs 10,000 per square meter and that too on
payment of 5 per cent of the price, on allotment", the court
Quashing the notifications issued by the government and
"all consequential actions taken by GNOIDA", the court ordered
"the respondents will hand over the possession of the land
back to the land owners".
The court also held that all the petitioners would be
"made entitled to the costs of prosecuting the cases in
accordance with the rules of the court".