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Q. Singur land acquisition issue: In the backdrop of recent Judgement of Supreme Court on Singur land acquisition issue, comment on the issue.
Sep 02, 2016 Related to : GS Paper- 2 and 3

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently Supreme Court of India ruled that land acquisition of 997 acres in Singur district in the year 2006 was illegal and void. By quashing the entire land acquisition process done by the erstwhile government in West Bengal, the court has reiterated that the term ‘public purpose’ cannot be arbitrarily invoked to acquire land and hand it over to a private party.

Background-

  • In May 2006, Tata motors announced Nano car plant at Singur in West Bengal after successful talks with government.
  • According to agreement between government and Tata motors, the government has started land acquisition process.
  • began
  •  After heavy protest by various sections of society, in September 2008 suspends its work, in next month it has decided to move out its plan from West Bengal. (Now Nano plant is in Gujarat)

Supreme Court judgement-

  • While delivering judgement court held that there was no public purpose involved in the land acquisition as it was solely for the benefit of Tata Motors.
  • The failure on the front of government to hold a proper inquiry into objections from the public, and the fact that the State Cabinet had decided to acquire land for the project even before the acquisition was notified as per law, rendered the entire process void.
  • With the judgement the farmers set to get back their land, and the court allowing them to keep the compensation they had earlier received or claim it now if they are yet to get it.

Analysis-

  • With this judgement farmers gets their land back and also they are allowed to keep compensation, as they lost their right on land nearly for 10 years. Hence it upheld rights of common and poor people.
  • But this judgement may affect the future investment in the country. Such judgement may counter for governments’ industrialisation policy, which is much needed for employment generation and economic growth.

Conclusion-

The Supreme Court’s verdict on the Singur land acquisition issue is a re-statement of first principles relating to the limitations of eminent domain. The lesson from judgement is thoughtless and fast-tracked acquisition, often to the detriment of due process and the interests of those deprived of land and livelihood is the real issue and not promotion of industrialisation.


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