The Supreme Court has quashed the acquisition of land of two industrial units in Dehradun by the Uttar Pradesh government in 1986 on grounds of urgency.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla annulled the acquisition, saying the state government has failed to produce any material to show that invoking of the urgency clause of the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring the land was bonafide.
The bench set aside an order of the Allahabad High Court, which had upheld the acquisition.
"In our opinion the acquisition of the appellants' land is liable to be quashed because the respondents have not produced any material to show that the state government had formed a bonafide opinion on the issue of invoking the provisions contained in section 17 of the Act.
"In the result, the appeal is allowed, the impugned order is set aside and the acquisition of the appellants' land is quashed," the bench said.
The apex court's order came on the plea of Garg Woollen Pvt Ltd and Everest Cylinders Pvt Ltd, against the September 1997 order of the high court which had dismissed their petition seeking quashing of the acquisition of their land.
Advocate Anil Karnwal, appearing for the companies, had contended before the apex court that there was no urgent need to acquire the land and it was done without giving them an opportunity to voice their objections.
The Uttar Pradesh government had issued a notification in May, 1985 for it under the Land Acquisition Act to acquire over 250 acres of land in Dehradun for the purpose of developing it into an industrial area.
The land was acquired on the basis of an order passed by the Special Land Acquisition Collector in November, 1986.
The appellants had claimed to have purchased the land in 1984, where they had set up their industrial units by 1985 after availing huge loans.
The apex court allowed their appeal after drawing similarities between the appellants' case and its recent order quashing the acquisition of farmers' land in Gautam Budh Nagar area by the Uttar Pradesh government.