The Supreme Court today issued notice to Tata Motors seeking its response on a special leave petition filed by the West Bengal government challenging the quashing of the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, by the Calcutta High Court. The apex court also extended the stay of the high court judgment; which means the state need not return the land to the original owners now.
The high court had struck down the Act that allowed the government to reclaim 400 acres of land given to Tata Motors for its Nano car project. Allowing the petition of Tata Motors on June 22, the high court had stated that the law was unconstitutional.
Tata Motors had acquired the Singur land when the Left government was in power. The agricultural land owners then protested violently against the acquisition, following which the Tata’s project was shifted to Gujarat.
When the Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, came to power in West Bengal, the Singur Land Act was passed revoking the land acquisition. Tata Motors challenged the law, and the high court struck it down.
The government appeal, which came up before a Bench consisting Justice H L Dattu and Justice Chandramauli Prasad, argues the high court had erred in quashing the Act. The law did not involve any land acquisition. Its objective was to return the land to farmers unwilling to part with it, and to generate employment. The high court quashed the law mainly because the President’s assent was not taken for the Act.
West Bengal Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee today claimed the Singur land acquisition law framed by her government was 'valid'. "Singur law is valid and we are happy at the Supreme Court order," Banerjee told reporters at the airport after returning here from Delhi. "This is a victory of the farmers and the victory of Ma-Mati-Manush (mother-earth-humanity)," she said.