All petitions challenging land acquisition by UP government in Noida and Greater Noida areas were today referred to the Chief Justice of Allahabad high court by a division bench with the request that a larger bench be constituted to decide the matter.
Hearing petitions of hundreds of farmers from nearly a dozen villages of Gautam Buddh Nagar, who had challenged acquisition of more than 3,000 hectares of land by the state government, a bench comprising justices Amitava Lala and Ashok Srivastava also gave an option to them to reach an out-of-court settlement by August 12.
The court refrained from passing any order on the applications of investors, who had moved the court under the banner of "Noida Extension Flat Buyers' Welfare Association", as well as builders, all of whom had made a request for being made parties in the case.
The court while referring the matter to the Chief Justice, fixed August 17 as the next date of hearing and also said that those petitioners who wished to approach the concerned authorities with their grievances and reach an out-of-court settlement could do so by August 12.
However, the court said that those who choose to arrive at any agreement with the authorities during this period would have to inform the court about the same on the next date of hearing with full details about the relief that they have agreed to, be it higher compensation or return of the acquired land.
Earlier in the day, another division bench had recused itself from hearing a petition filed by farmers of Deola village in Gautam Buddh Nagar district, who had moved the court challenging acquisition of 107 hectares of land belonging to them.
The bench comprising justices RK Agrawal, Sunil Hali had released the matter from its jurisidiction and referred the matter to the Chief Justice with the request that the petitions be placed before an "appropriate" bench.
All the petitions are now likely to be heard together by a larger bench of the court on August 17.
Today's hearing commenced with a number of farmers from Patwari village seeking relief in the light of a July 19 court order whereby acquisition of 589 hectares of land in the same village had been quashed.
The petitioners had contended that since an order had already been passed in favour of other farmers from their village who had moved the court earlier, they too be granted similar relief as their land had been acquired by the state government in a similar fashion.
The farmers' plea was opposed by builders involved in housing projects in Noida Extension area, who contended that orders quashing the land acquisitions were affecting them as well as those who had invested their earnings, without any fault on their part.