‘Sinister campaign’: SC on land acquisition

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 21:09

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed
the authorities for taking advantage of the "colonial law" on
land acquisition to divest farmers of their prime agricultural
land benefitting the rich and paying "pittance" rpt pittance
to common men.



The apex court said a "sinister campaign" has been
launched by various state governments to take advantage of
the law against the poor people for taking away the land and
giving it to builders where multiplexes, malls, posh
residential complexes are developed which are beyond the reach
of common men.
"Do you think judges live in fools` paradise"? snapped
a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly when senior
advocate P P Rao responded to a question that the residential
complexes were being developed for the "needy".



"You are building hotels, malls, commercial complexes,
townships where common men have no access. Does it come under
the perception of public purpose for which the land has been
acquired?



The bench questioned the change by Uttar Pradesh
government in land use in Greater Noida and said "this is not
the plan for which the land is acquired. How different
notifications came out for changing the use of land".



The sharp remarks 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 capital.



The bench made it clear that it was not going to stay the
High Court verdict and would go ahead with the hearing the
parties.



"We are indicating that we are not inclined to stay the
order of the High Court. We are not inclined to entertain the
special leave petition. We will ask only for your
submissions," the bench said.



While Rao, appearing for Supertech, contended the
development of residential complexes were for the "needy", the
bench drew his attention to the brochure of the company saying
"what is there in it is not for the poor people".
"Look at your own brochure. It is saying about swimming
pool, spa, tennis court, badminton court, beauty parlour,
ayurvedic massage etc. All these are for poor people?



"I am reading from your own brochure. Is it for a common
man? Land is taken and given to the builder. This is a
sinister plan," the bench said.



"Land is given for the development which must be
inclusive. The state is taking advantage of the law against
the poor. A sinister campaign is made by various state
governments. The state is doing a totally anti-people thing,"
it said.



While maintaining that the purpose of the land
acquisition was being defeated, the bench said the poorest man
in society should benefit in public interest but "you
(authorities) are responding in such a way that they (the poor
and common men) are driven out".



"In the name of globalisation, you are marginalising the
people. Why is there a proliferation of terrorist activities?
Because they are pushed to the walls. Why so many people are
committing suicide? They are marginalised. You are not taking
care of them. Poor men cannot come to this court," the bench
said.



It expressed its anguish over the whole development in
recent times where the emergency clause has been applied for
acquiring land of farmers on the pretext of public purpose.



"The state is taking advantage of the colonial law.
What you are giving to the common men is pittance," the bench
said.
The High Court had on May 31 quashed acquisition of 170
hectares of land at Gulistan village in Greater Noida for
industrial development.



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 the chance to file their objections on
the ground that the matter was urgent, was a "colourable
exercise of power" and had quashed the notification.



The counsel, appearing for Greater Noida Industrial
Development Authority, contended 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 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.



PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 - 21:09

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