The Supreme Court on Friday termed as “infructuous” the appeals of West Bengal government against the Calcutta High Court order, which had in June 2012 struck down the Singur Land Act that had allowed the state government to reclaim 400 acres of land given to Tata Motors. “The petition has become infructuous for the time being in wake of earlier judgement of the court. Liberty granted to petitioners to file interim application, if the need arises,” a bench of Justices J S Khehar and Arun Mishra said.
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On August 31, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal had scored a major victory with Supreme Court terming as “illegal and void” the acquisition of 1053 acres land by the erstwhile Left Front government for Tata Motors’ Nano project at Singur, by ordering restoration of land to farmers who will retain the compensation received. It had directed the state’s Survey Settlement Department to conduct a survey and identify mouzas of lands acquired with reference to layout plans, other connected records, village maps and survey settlement records of the lands in question, in order to identify the respective portions which needed to be returned to the respective owners or cultivators.
The court had said that the possession of the lands be restored to landowners/cultivators within 12 weeks from the date of the verdict. The verdict had come on petitions filed by some farmers and NGOs alleging that the acquisition of land was against the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and other rules.
The petitioners had charged the earlier Left government with acquiring most fertile and valuable land for Tata Motors. The present appeal in the apex court was filed by the West Bengal government after the High Court had in 2012 ruled that the legislation enacted by Mamata Banerjee government to recover the land leased to Tata Motors in Singur for its small car project was constitutionally invalid.
The Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 sought to empower the state government to take back 400 acres of land, given to Tata Motors for its project.