The Calcutta high court has upheld the West Bengal government’s acquisition of the land at Singur that was leased to Tata Motors for its Nano small car project by the previous state government.
The court on Wednesday declared the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 — under which the government had taken over the land on June 21 — as constitutional and valid.
Justice IP Mukherjee of the high court said, “Sufficient public purpose for making such acquisition is made out in the Act.”
He stayed his verdict till November 2 to enable any aggrieved party to appeal to a superior court. Tata Motors said it would decide on the next course of action after studying the judgment.
The court, directing Tata Motors to transfer the land to the state in two months, also pulled up state officials for forcibly taking over the land without notifying the company.
Also upholding the Tata Motors’ right to compensation, the court said the district judge would take a decision on the matter within six months of filing application.
The state government under Mamata Banerjee — who wrested power from the CPI (M) in the 2011 assembly elections —had used the Singur land row as one of the issues against the Left Front. Mamata on firm ground
The front government leased 997 acres to Tata Motors in 2006, despite a section of the landowners having rejected the government deal. After Banerjee's government took back the land, Tata Motors moved court challenging the Act.
"I hope those who had been claiming that we were making a mistake, will now keep their mouths shut," said a jubilant Banerjee, who also won the by-election — her first assembly seat — on Wednesday.
"Singur has become a role model across the globe for farmers fighting for their rights. This judgment and the victory in the by-elections will boost our fervour for work.”