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Consider returning Singur land, apex court tells Tatas

Consider returning Singur land, apex court tells Tatas
Hearing a plea of the West Bengal government challenging the quashing of the Singur Land Acquisition Act by the Calcutta high court, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Tata Motors to make its stand clear on its leasehold rights over the Singur land in the wake of changed scenario as the company had already moved its car plant out of West Bengal.

A bench of Justices HL Dattu and Dipak Misra said, ‘The land was acquired for establishing a car manufacturing plant at Singur. Now the purpose is no more there as you have already moved out. Now you cannot say that you still have the interests in the land in question.’

The high court had held the legislation enacted by the state government to recover the land leased to Tata Motors in Singur for Nano car project as constitutionally invalid as the President’s assent had not been taken for the said Act.

The apex court bench further said that the ‘land should move back to the agriculturists and we may ask the West Bengal government to file an affidavit on the issue of giving the money back to you which you had paid at the time of land acquisition. In the interests of justice, we think it will serve the purpose’. The court asked Tata Motors to file an affidavit making its stand clear on its rights over the land in the changed scenario.

The West Bengal government had moved the Supreme Court against the high court order, which had struck down the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 that allowed it to reclaim the 400 acres of land given to Tata Motors. The high court order came on an appeal by Tata Motors against a single bench order of the high court holding the Act as constitutional.
Reacting to the observation, senior Cabinet Minister in the Trinamool government Subrata Mukherjee told Millennium Post, “It is a good sign. But let us wait for the judgement”.

The automobile giant had been given 997 acres of land on lease in Singur in West Bengal in 2007 by the Left Front government for a factory to produce India’s cheapest car, the Nano. The Tatas pulled out of Singur and moved its Nano project to Gujarat a year later after Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress led a strong campaign against the forcible land acquisition
in Singur.
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