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Land Act a fraud,learn from Gujarat,says SC

It praises Modi govt,saying no cases of farmers being uprooted from their land had come to court from the state.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
August 5, 2011 2:55:19 am

Forcible acquisition of land has turned the 117-year-old Land Acquisition Act into a “fraud”,the Supreme Court said on Thursday,calling the legislation a handiwork of “sick” minds with no concern for welfare of the poor.

It went on to praise the Gujarat government,saying no cases of farmers or the poor being uprooted from their land had come to court from the state.

“The Act has become a fraud. It seems to have been devised by people with a sick mind who had scant regard for the welfare of the common man. It is time the Act is scrapped,” a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu observed,while hearing petitions by farmers from Hapur in Uttar Pradesh who had lost 82 acres to a leather industrial complex.

The 1894 Act is in the process of being repealed,with a new Bill set to be tabled in the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The Supreme Court compared states where “forcible acquisition” using an emergency clause under the Act had almost become a norm to Gujarat. “But there is one state from where we do not receive any such complaints. Look at Ahmedabad which is developing but there are no complaints from that place. They have the same officers of the same cadre as in the rest of the country,” the court said,adding officers from other states can train under their Gujarat counterparts.

The court even directly addressed Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal,who hails from Gujarat,to say that the law officer would “vouch” for the court’s remarks about his state’s policy on land acquisition.

On the other hand,the court was harsh on UP counsel Pallabh Sisodia,observing that “if you (UP government) are uprooting people of their only source of livelihood,you should make alternative arrangements for their livelihood and accommodation”.

Noting that land prices were skyrocketing,the Supreme Court said that those with “muscle power” and political clout would take over all private land.

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