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Supreme Court scraps Greater Noida land acquisition

Postby webmaster » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:14 pm

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 06, 2011

SC scraps G Noida land acquisition

A day after it accused states of running a sinister campaign to "grab" the land of poor farmers, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dealt a big blow to the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh by quashing a 2007 notification to acquire 156.3 hectares of land in Greater Noida.

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly also imposed a Rs 10 lakh fine on the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) and directed it to return the land to its original owners.

Coming up on that land, in the Shahberi village area, is an "affordable residential hub", popularly known as Noida Extension.
Some 6,500 families have invested around Rs 100 crore in flats in high-rise residential apartments being built by prominent builders such as Supertech, Amrapali and Gaursons.

Though construction in most projects is yet to begin, the companies have been advertising extensively.

Dismissing a bunch of appeals filed by GNIDA and builders challenging a May 12 Allahabad high court verdict quashing the land acquisition, the SC bench said, "GNIDA allotted the land to builders in violation of what the land was acquired for."

The land was originally acquired for "industrial purpose" and the agency invoked the emergency clause for this, thereby denying land-owners the right to file objections.

However, GNIDA later changed the land-use to residential to facilitate the sale of the land to builders.

Reacting to the SC order, an apex body of realtors assured affected flat owners that they would either be accommodated in other projects or their money refunded.

Apart from Shahberi, the high court had quashed the invocation of emergency clause to acquire 72 hectares in Surajpur and 170 hectares in Gulistanpur villages too. But in these cases, the court had not set aside the land acquisition.

If GNIDA does not appeal against this decision, it will have to invite objections from land-owners before passing a final order to acquire their land.

Advocate P Narasimhan, appearing for the Shahberi land-owners, said: "The time has come for redefining public purpose for land acquisition. Public purpose is only when there is access for the entire public to the benefits arising out of the acquisition, and for this the public trust doctrine must be applied." ... 17988.aspx
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SC upholds cancellation of Noida Extension land acquisition

Postby webmaster » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:20 pm

SC upholds cancellation of Noida Extension land acquisition
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jul 7, 2011, 04.50am IST

NEW DELHI: The dream house of thousands of middle class people attracted by glossy brochures and reasonable rates took a knock with Supreme Court on Wednesday upholding cancellation of a huge tract of land allotted by Greater Noida Authority in Shahberi village in Noida Extension to developers.

A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly severely criticised Greater Noida Authority for colluding with developers to illegally change land use from industrial to residential and imposed costs of Rs 10 lakh. The money will be spent to assist poor litigants in Supreme Court.

While the court's decision to set aside the land acquisition puts the projects in jeopardy, its strong remarks against the manner in which land was acquired for developers at the cost of farmers will provide ammunition to Congress and other opponents of UP CM Mayawati who has raised the pitch on land acquisition.

The court's decision to set aside the land acquisition will mean the projects are now scrapped. Supreme Court strongly felt the state government has indulged in a malafide use of its powers for "urgent" land acquisition to benefit developers rather than serving any public purpose.

The SC dismissed appeals filed by developers and the Greater Noida Authority and said there was no error in the Allahabad High Court order cancelling the takeover of agricultural land in Shahberi village, a majority of whose residents opposed the acquisition. The HC had said it was a colourable exercise of executive power unsustainable under the Land Acquisition Act.

The housing projects that will be affected include those by Amrapali, Ajnara, Supertech, Mahagun, Panchsheel, SJP Infracon and Gulshan Builders, who together were allotted 4 lakh square metres of land by the Greater Noida Authority.

What really hurt the Greater Noida Authority's case was transfer of the land to builders even before the Uttar Pradesh government approved the proposal to change the use of the acquired land from industrial to residential. The government had acquired the land for industrial purpose in Shahberi village for the planned development of Greater Noida.

Taking into account the Collector's report that 185 farmers, who are original land owners, would be rendered homeless by the acquisition, the bench repeatedly asked the Greater Noida Authority to have a heart and feel the pain of the farmers.

What irked the bench was the transfer of the land to developers in brazen violation of law. "The authorities have to act only in public interest. In the name of public interest, the Greater Noida Authority was serving private interest," it said.

The builders argued that they had no clue about the transfer of land to them was without prior clearance of the change of land use and sought protection of the interests of thousands of investors who have put in hard earned money in the housing projects.

The SC said, "You were behind the curtain when Greater Noida transferred the land for residential purposes without approval." It also found that 60% of the total land acquired for Greater Noida industrial township have remained unutilized which went against takeover of agricultural land and its transfer for residential purposes.

The court said a detailed order giving reasons for dismissal of all the special leave petitions would follow soon. The court was livid with the manner the archaic Land Acquisition Act, 1894, was being used to oust poor farmers from their land, which was being used to build luxurious houses for the upper class.

"This is a sinister anti-people campaign started by many states including Uttar Pradesh," the bench had said ominously on Tuesday. ... 131774.cms
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