SC Quashes Singur Land Acquisition

The Supreme Court quashed acquisition of 1,000 acres of land in Singur acquired by West Bengal government in 2006 for setting up of the Nano car unit by the Tata group.

“The land acquisition process adopted by the then government was wrong on many counts,” the SC said in its landmark judgment.

A bench of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra agreed for different reasons, in their separate judgments in the case, to quash the acquisition process and return the land to thousands of short-changed landowners, farmers and cultivators, who have been fighting a prolonged legal battle in the courts for over 10 years.

Justice Gowda, reading his judgment, said the acquisition of land in “favour of a company” by taking it away from the farmers cultivating it cannot be construed as a “public purpose”.

The Bench ordered the State government to identify the land acquired in 10 weeks and return the land to the farmers in the next 12 weeks.

It further held that the farmers can retain the compensation paid to them by the State as they were “deprived” of their 10 years’ income from the land by the State’s acquisition. The State will have to pay the compensation to those who were not paid.

The court was hearing petitions filed by farmers, questioning the manner in which over 1,000 acres was allotted by the CPI(M)-led government to Tata Motors without adhering to sections 4 and 5 of the Land Acquisition Act, which mandate public notice for receiving objections.