Jolt for Mamata as court annuls Singur land law (Roundup)June 22nd, 2012 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, June 22 (IANS) Delivering a jolt to the Mamata Banerjee government that rode to power capitalising on peasant agitations in Singur and Nandigram, the Calcutta High Court Friday struck down as unconstitutional the Singur land law which scrapped the land lease given to Tata Motors by the Left Front regime.
While a Tata Motors spokesman welcomed the verdict, state government counsel Kalyan Bandopadhyay said it would appeal to the Supreme Court against the judgment. Banerjee meanwhile reiterated her government’s commitment to return the land to the farmers.
The decision caused gloom among most of the affected farmers in Singur in Hooghly district, 40 km from Kolkata.
Upturning a single judge’s ruling holding valid the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, a division bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Mrinal Kanti Chaudhuri ruled sections of compensation in the legislation were in conflict with the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
The judges also said the law had been enacted without obtaining presidential assent. The y also held that though the single judge had awarded compensation on the basis of the Land Acquisition Act, the court had “no power to insert, rewrite or reframe” the Singur act.
“The said part (dealing with compensation) is not sustainable,” the bench held.
The court has suspended for two months its order to enable the state government appeal to the Supreme Court, but has barred the state from disbursing reclaimed land in the interim period.
Automobile giant Tata Motors had moved a division bench against Justice I.P. Mukerji’s Sep 28 ruling, upholding the law passed by the Banerjee government soon after assuming office last year to return 400 acres to farmers.
In her reaction, Banerjee expressed hope that the farmers would get back their land.
“I don’t want to comment on the court’s verdict. But we are committed to the cause of the farmers of Singur and will continue to stand by them. I believe, ultimately the farmers will win,” Banerjee said in the state assembly.
Leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra said the government is paying the price for not heeding to the opposition’s plea to desist from discriminating between those farmers who were unwilling to part with the land and those who gave their land willingly.
Congress leader Abdul Mannan questioned Banerjee’s intent to give back the land to the farmers.
“It was only posturing on her behalf. Otherwise, she would not have hastily passed the law but would have taken time and help of experts to draft a comprehensive law,” said Mannan.
A total of 997 acres of land in Singur was leased to the Tatas by the Left Front government for the firm’s Nano car project, along with several vendors who were to set up ancillary units at the site.
The automobile major however had to shift its plant to Sanand in Gujarat in 2008 because of protests by farmers led by the Trinamool Congress. The party sought the return of 400 acres taken from farmers, who were reportedly unwilling to part with their lands.
The Singur movement reversed the Trinamool’s sliding electoral fortunes and it went from strength to strength over the next three years to unseat the Left Front from power.
The Banerjee cabinet’s very first meeting decided that the land would be returned to the farmers and within a month of forming the government in May, the regime enacted the Singur land law. However, the matter got locked in legal battles stretching from the Calcutta High Court to the Supreme Court.
A pall of gloom descended in Singur, with many of the unwilling farmers expressing their disappointment but still hoping to get their land back.
“We are certainly disappointed but have not lost hope. We have and we will continue our struggle until the day comes when we will get back our land,” said Partha Mallik.
Some of the farmers accused the Trinamool leadership of ignoring their interests.
“When they were not in power, Singur was like a home to them. But now, no one comes here to take a look at our condition, to know if we are alive,” said Biplab Khamaru.
Those who had consensually given up land and accepted compensation welcomed the verdict, hoping for some investment on the land.
“I am happy. Had the factory been here, a lot of us would have got jobs.Maybe, with the win, they (Tatas) may think of setting up a factory here and we may again get a job,” said Basudeb Khamaru.
- I believe Singur's farmers will win, says Mamata - Jun 22, 2012
- We are committed to the cause of Singur farmers: Mamata (Lead) - Jun 22, 2012
- Singur farmers disappointed but still hopeful - Jun 22, 2012
- Court scraps Singur land law, Mamata suffers setback (Second Lead) - Jun 22, 2012
- Monthly allowance to Singur's unwilling farmers doubled - Jun 27, 2012
- Mamata thanks people for moral support on Singur - Jun 23, 2012
- Tata may challenge Singur land law verdict Tuesday (Lead) - Oct 31, 2011
- Court extends stay on Singur land return - Nov 03, 2011
- Singur verdict people's victory: Mamata - Sep 28, 2011
- West Bengal moves apex court on Singur land law - Aug 07, 2012
- Parties scramble to capture Singur turf (West Bengal Newsletter) - Jun 30, 2012
- Mamata government reactivates Singur movement panel - Jun 23, 2012
- Singur despairs at promises undone (One year of Mamata Banerjee) - May 13, 2012
- Singur land act held valid, Singur farmers celebrate - Sep 29, 2011
- Most parties cheer Singur order, CPI-M differs - Sep 28, 2011
Tags: assent, calcutta high court, chandra, chaudhuri, development act, division bench, ghose, gloom, government appeal, government counsel, interim period, jolt, kanti, land acquisition act, land lease, land rehabilitation, mamata banerjee, mrinal, reclaimed land, tata motors