High court quashes Greater Noida land acquisition (Lead)

July 19th, 2011 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, July 19 (IANS) The Allahabad High Court Tuesday ordered that agricultural land of farmers of Patwari village, acquired by the Greater Noida Authority in 2008, be restored to them.

The land was taken over for residential purposes in June 2008 in Patwari village in Dadri tehsil of Gautam Budh Nagar district, neighbouring New Delhi, a court official said. The court quashed the takeover of the land as illegal.

“The acquisition proceedings were carried out with unusual haste. While the notice for acquisition was issued March 12, 2008, the entire chunk of land was formally taken over by the Greater Noida Authority over the next three months by June 30,” the official added.

The affected farmers, however, got together to move the Allahabad High Court, raising various issues, including the bypassing of procedures to hasten takeover of their fields.

While quashing the acquisition proceedings, a division bench of Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice S.S. Tiwari felt that though the land was purported to be acquired for residential housing, that could not be treated as “public purpose”.

The verdict comes close on the heels of two similar orders, whereby acquired land was directed to be returned to its owners in the vicinity of the village in Greater Noida earlier last month.

However, this order is in sharp contrast to two other verdicts of different benches of the Allahabad High Court that upheld certain aquisitions in the same region.

According to the Uttar Pradesh government’s chief standing counsel M.C. Chaturvedi: “While the first order came from a division bench of Justice Arun Tandon and Justice A.P. Shahi in November 2008, the second order was issued by another division bench of Justice P.C. Verma and Justice R.A. Singh three months later.”

“Special appeals were pending against both these judgments before the apex court,” he said.

Meanwhile, a couple of more such petitions are to come up for hearing over the coming days, according to court officials.

As many as 1,600 farmers have been affected by the Greater Noida Authority’s acquisition of 589 hectares of land over the past three years.

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