“No More Nandigrams”
In another significant verdict, another Supreme Court Bench upheld an Allahabad High Court verdict quashing land acquisition by the UP Government in Shahberi village of Greater Noida. The Bench dismissed the petitions by Greater Noida Authority (GNA) and several private builders against the Allahabad HC verdict and fined the GNA Rs.10 lakh.
During the trial, the Supreme Court said a “sinister campaign” has been launched by various state governments to take advantage of the “colonial law” on land acquisition to grab prime agricultural land from farmers, paying them a mere “pittance.”
“Do you think judges live in fools’ paradise”? retorted the bench of Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, when senior advocate PP 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 fact that the Uttar Pradesh government had acquired the land in the name of industrial use but later transferred it to real estate builders.
Earlier, a Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and A.K. Patnaik, examining the same case, had questioned the state government’s invoking of an urgency clause that bars farmers from raising objections, saying, “We do not want more Nandigrams in all States.”