Bullet train project: Godrej again moves HC over land dispute
The dispute over the acquisition of land at Vikhroli for ventilation shaft and distribution and traction sub-stations of India’s first high-speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, has again landed in the Bombay high court (HC) as Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company Ltd moved court in the case.
During the first round of litigation, Godrej had approached HC after the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is executing the project, began the process for acquisition of 39,540-sqm plot at Vikhroli.
The court had disposed of the petition after Godrej offered an alternate site, which was in principle acceptable to NHSRCL. However, talks for acquisition of the alternate site did not come to fruition, which led Godrej to again approach the court.
This time, the firm has challenged the Constitutional validity of Section 10A of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, which empowers the state government to exempt certain public projects from the purview of Chapter II and Chapter III of the enactment. It has also challenged two notifications issued by the state exercising its powers under Section 10A.
Senior advocate Navroz Seervai on Wednesday argued since the bullet train project is a multi-state project, the Centre was the appropriate government for land acquisition, and the state government had no power to exempt the project from the purview of certain provisions of the 2013 Act.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh opposed the plea and requested the court to allow NHSRCL to file its affidavit. The bench has posted the petition for further hearing on January 20.