The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to examine the validity of the acquisition of land in Singur, West Bengal, by the state government for the Tata Nano car plant.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices R V Raveendran and M K Sharma also issued notices to the Tatas, the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation and the West Bengal government on the petitions filed by some of farmers whose fertile land had been forcibly acquired by the government to set up the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by the Tatas on 1,000 acres of land.
The farmers had challenged the acquisition of the land by the state government under chapter two of SEZ in which government can acquire a land for public purpose even without the consent of the land owner.
According to the petitioners, the SEZ could not be called in public interest and it was purely a commercial venture. They said under chapter seven, the purchaser must negotiate with the owner directly and the land to be acquired should not be fertile and price should also to be settled with the farmer.
Notification for the acquisition of 1,000 acres of fertile land at Singur was issued by the government in August 2006. Farmers challenged the government notification in the Calcutta High Court. The high court dismissed their petitions on January 18 this year.
The apex court, however, refused to stay the operation of the impugned judgement of the high court.