Sunday, June 4, 2023

Supreme Court rejects plea against acquisition of Godrej &Boyce’s plot for bullet train project

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The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal by Godrej & Boyce that challenges the acquisition of its land for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project.

A bench comprising of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala have upheld the Bombay High Court order which stated that project is of national importance so there is no illegality in the proceedings of land acquisition.

The High Court said that the powers of the Court under writ jurisdiction as discretionary and just because there are certain alleged irregularities in the procedure required to be followed while acquiring the writ property, the court cannot exercise discretionary power in view of the fact that the bullet train project being infrastructural and public project of national importance.

The High Court had further held that larger public interest would prevail over private interest, and the project is first of its kind.

It is the paramount collective interest which would ultimately prevail. In the facts of this case, the private interest claimed by the petitioner does not prevail over the public interest which would subserve Infrastructural Project of public importance which is a dream project of this country and first of its kind”, the order said.

This order lead to an appeal before the top court.

Godrej and Boyce in their plea before the High Court had challenged compensation passed by the Deputy Collector for acquiring the company’s land after awarding compensation of ₹264 crores on September 15, 2022.

The company in its application had claimed that the 2019 land proceedings for land acquisition had lapsed in 2020 and, hence, the award passed by the officer was void ab initio.

Amendment to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, was challenged by the company, post which the bullet train project had been made exempt from any social impact assessment to be carried out by experts.

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