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Land Acquisition is no more a holy cow, says judge

india Updated: Oct 22, 2011 23:06 IST
Kapil Datta
Kapil Datta
Hindustan Times
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Justice SU Khan, a member of the three-judge bench of the Allahabad high court that delivered the Noida land acquisition judgment, came out with some interesting observations.

In one of such observations, he said, "Land Acquisition is no more a holy cow. At present it is a fallen ox. Everybody is a butcher when the ox falls." In the 400-page judgment delivered on Friday, last 12 pages have additional views of Justice Khan.

"The correctness of this phrase is best illustrated by this bunch of more than 1000 writ petitions (about half of which are to be decided after this judgment) almost all of which have been filed after 06.07.2011 (the date on which judgment of the Supreme Court reported in Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority Vs. Devendra Kumar, 2011 (6) ADJ 480 was delivered) challenging land acquisitions in New Okhla Industrial Development Area (NOIDA) and Greater NOIDA," he said.

"Almost all the acquisitions since formation of NOIDA through notification dated 17.04.1976 under U.P. Industrial Area Development Act of 1976 (which received the assent of the Governor on 16.04.1976) have been challenged. In all the writ petitions, barring few, there are several petitioners. Total number of petitioners is more than ten thousand. Similar petitions are still being filed. It is not opening of flood gate. It is tsunami. It has helped us in understanding the problem in its entirety," he said.

Justice Khan said, "Till a couple of years before, it was considered almost indecent to suggest that acquisition of land might be quashed by higher judiciary. That was one extreme. Quashing of the acquisition lock, stock and barrel will be full swing to the other extreme."

"However, spirit of law is BALANCE. Each side may have legitimate arguments in its favour. However, this is a world of compromises and no argument can be brought to its logical conclusion. Balance in nature is necessary for survival of the Universe. Similarly balance in society is also essential for its survival. We have tried to maintain the delicate balance through the leading judgment," he said.

In the matter of land acquisition, the Supreme Court realised the importance of the resentment of the people at an early stage. Without waiting for the flames to rise, fire fighting efforts were initiated immediately after seeing the smoke during last couple of years, he stated.