The Calcutta High Court today held the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act of 2011 as unconstitutional and void, giving a huge set back to Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamta Banerjee. The court has favoured the appeal made by Tata Motors and has give the state government a span of 2 months to approach the Supreme Court. The directive was issued by a division bench comprising of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice MK Chaudhur.
The Division Bench stated that sections of compensation in the Singur Act stood in conflict with the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. It also pointed out that the Singur Act has not yet obtained Presidential assent. According to the single Bench, compensation must be awarded on the basis of Land Acquisition Act of 1894. It also stated that the court had “no power to insert, rewrite or reframe’’ the Singur Act. “The said part (dealing with compensation) is not sustainable,’’ the Division Bench said.
Responding to the directive issued by the Calcutta High Court, the Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee declared that her government was obviously with the farmers and stood deeply committed to return the land that was taken away from them. “Unwilling farmers in Singur will get back their land. The state government is committed to it,” said Banerjee to reporters, who had gathered in the assembly premises. “We are with them and we will continue to be with them. They will emerge victorious at the end,” Banerjee said. She however, refused any comment on the high court verdict.
Mamta Banerjee passed the Singur Act of 2011, after she became the Chief Minister. The Act had validated the land re-acquisition drive of the state government, where they could reclaim the 1,000 acres at Singur, the abandoned factory site of Tata Nano. However, the Act was challenged by the Tatas in the High Court in November 2011.
997 acre was taken on lease by Tata Motors for its Nano car project, at Singur, Hooghly District, during the the tenure of the Left Front government. But the Trinamool Congress, the main opposition of West Bengal then demanded the return of 400 acres to those farmers who were unwilling to give their land for the project. Following this, Tata Motors moved to Sanand, Gujarat in 2008. However, the company kept possession of the leased land at Singur.
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