New Delhi: Tata Motors, which was allotted land for its proposed Nano car plant in Singur in West Bengal which eventually was shifted to Gujarat, had a tough time on Thursday in the Supreme Court to justify its claim for retaining it.
A bench comprising justices V Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra questioned the manner in which over 400 acres of land was allotted to Tata Motors without adhering to the section 4 and 5 of the Land Acquisition Act which mandate public notice for receiving objections.
The bench noted that the entire exercise was done by “bulldozing the law” as the then Cabinet suo motu cleared the allocation of the land identified by the automobile major which was the task of the government of the day. The bench said it was a farcical exercise through which the land was allocated and it was a “legal mala fide”.
It said there were several grey areas which needed to be answered and the company has to first address those questions. The court said, “You cannot argue that they (farmers) have accepted the award so they cannot challenge the acquisition. This case is under different footing and there are several issues which needs to be answered.”
Senior advocates appearing for the company had submitted that the matter should be referred to the constitution bench which was not accepted by the bench which continued with the hearing. The court was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the quashing of Singur Land Acquisition Act by the Calcutta High Court.
The state government had moved the apex court against the high court order which had struck down the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 that allowed it to reclaim the 400 acres of land given to Tata Motors