SC shocker for Mamata on Singur

SC shocker for Mamata on Singur

SC shocker for Mamata on Singur

A Bench of justices P Sathasivam and A K Patnaik said it was passing an interim order as the main issue with regard to possession and distribution of land was pending before the Calcutta High Court.

It directed the high court to dispose of Tata Motors’ petition challenging the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act within 30 days. “The high court is requested to proceed with the main matters. As an interim arrangement, we direct the state not to return the land to the unwilling owners until further orders by the high court,” the Bench said, adding it was not expressing opinion on the issue.

The court pointed out it was granting interim protection since senior counsel P P Rao, appearing for the state government, assured that the land will remain in the hands of the state government till the high court decided the issue.

Tata Motors challenged the order of the Calcutta High Court which did not grant any relief to it. In the beginning, the court told senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Tata Motors, that there was a limited issue before it as the company had not asked it to go into the legislation pending before the high court.

“We are not underestimating the matter,” Justice Sathasivam said, after Rohtagi said the Tatas had to rush to the apex court as the Trinamool Congress-led government came out with a legislation on June 21 night to take possession of about 1,000 acres of land  for re-distribution among the farmers from whom land was acquired for the project.

Rohtagi submitted that small businessmen who set up ancillary units in Singur faced the brunt of the situation while the Tatas were forced to shift its plant to Gujarat. He also questioned the modus operandi of the state government in taking possession of the land.

“On the midnight of June 21, we were dispossessed of the land,” he said, charging the state government with scuttling the legal remedies available to Tata Motors and even going ahead to allocate land to 13 persons on Tuesday while knowing that the matter would be taken up by the court.

Senior advocates Rao and Kalyan Bandhopadhyay, appearing for the Bengal government, promised the court that the land was not being returned as the procedure of objections cannot be completed before 30 days as the applications will be scrutinised by a high court-appointed panel.