The Supreme Court Monday said it may monitor setting up an international university by UK-based Vedanta group in the holy city of Puri in Odisha to ensure that the piece of land is not used for “commercial purposes”. “The land should not be used for commercial purpose other than education. The court can monitor setting up of the university,” a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud said.
The bench said it would accord final hearing in the second week of February next year on a batch of appeals and cross-appeals in the case pertaining to acquisition of over 6,000 hectares of land in the state by the Anil Agarwal Foundation, run by the promoter of the UK- based Vedanta group.
The state government and the Foundation, which promotes the project, had appealed against the decision of the Orissa High Court which cited various reasons while holding that the land acquisition procedures for the proposed university project were “illegal”.
The high court had also directed Vedanta to return the land to its various owners. The apex court, in 2011, had asked the state government to maintain status quo on the acquisition of land for setting up of the university.
The counsel for activists, opposing the acquisition, had contended that the Land Acquisition Company Rules, 1963, were not properly followed by the state government.
The proposed multi-disciplinary university was supposed to spread over 6,000 acres on Puri-Konark marine drive overlooking the Bay of Bengal and was supposed to admit one lakh students in 95 disciplines.
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