The Supreme Court may club several cases linked to controversial land acquisitions to set up special economic zones (SEZs), following a plea from the Reliance group.
Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Ventures Limited has moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of cases pending before the Mumbai High Court and Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the provisions of the law governing land acquisitions to set up SEZs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan on Monday issued notice in response to the petition. One of the respondents of the petition is INLD leader Ajay Chautala who has moved the Punjab and Haryana high court against sanction of SEZ in favour of Reliance.
Appearing for the company, senior advocate Harish Salve urged the court to club the two cases from Punjab and Haryana high court and one from Mumbai with the two petitions that are already pending before the apex court.
The Supreme Court is hearing two petitions, filed by a farmers group from Karnataka and Haryana Congress leader Kuldeep Bishnoi, challenging the validity of the SEZ policy and the laws governing it.
Salve said it was important for the apex court to club the cases to avoid multiple litigation that might lead to conflicting decisions.
The company has invoked a provision in the Constitution that allows the Supreme Court to consolidate proceedings, from various courts, seeking common grounds of relief. Reliance Ventures Limited is one of the respondents in the three cases that the company now wants its cases to get consolidated before the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has already issued notice to the Centre, the commerce ministry and the agriculture ministry to furnish their response on the petition filed by a farmers’ body in Karnataka seeking to restrain state governments from acquiring their lands to encourage private investment.
The petition has cited figures of how much land had been acquired in states like Karnataka and West Bengal. It has also sought a direction to rehabilitate all displaced farmers.