The Gujarat High Court on Thursday issued notices to the state government as well as the Centre on a set of 30 fresh petitions against land acquisition process for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project. The petitioners, mostly farmers, had moved the court earlier this week after some of the original petitioners backed out.
The farmers, who are from Surat, Valsad and Navsari districts of south Gujarat, have challenged the process of acquiring land under section 3 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, contending that the appropriate authority to acquire land is the Centre and not the state government.
The petitioners have also argued that if the land to be acquired falls in more than one state, the appropriate authority is the Central government, and hence in case of the bullet train project, it is the Centre that has authority to initiate land acquisition process since the land falls in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Union Territories of Dadra & Nagar Haveli.
They have also challenged the Gujarat Amendment Act, 2016 that tweaked some sections of the 2013 land acquisition law of the Centre.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi had fixed the next hearing in the case on November 23.
Meanwhile, a lawyer representing four of the total five original petitioners, informed the court on Thursday that their petitions be withdrawn. The fifth petitioner, Jigar Patel, is learnt to have filed an affidavit, stating that he would not continue with the petition. The court adjourned the case of five petitions for final hearing on October 12. The court also refused to grant time to Railway Ministry for filing additional reply.
Out of the total 1,400 hectares to be acquired for the project, 1,047 hectares will be acquired from 195 villages in Gujarat.