New Delhi: The dream house of thousands of middle class families attracted by glossy brochures and reasonable rates took a knock with the Supreme Court on Wednesday upholding the cancellation of a huge tract of land allotted by the Greater Noida Authority in Shahberi village in Noida Extension to developers.
A bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly severely
criticized the Greater Noida Authority for colluding with developers to illegally change land use from industrial to residential and imposed costs of Rs 10 lakh. The money will be spent to assist poor litigants in the apex court.
While the court’s decision to set aside the land acquisition puts the projects in jeopardy, its strong remarks against the manner in which land was acquired for developers at the cost of farmers will provide ammunition to Congress and other opponents of UP chief minister Mayawati who has raised the pitch on land acquisition.
The court’s decision to set aside the land acquisition will mean the projects are now scrapped. The court strongly felt the state government has indulged in a malafide use of its powers for “urgent” land acquisition to benefit developers rather than serving any public purpose.
Dismissing appeals filed by developers and the Greater Noida Authority, the court said there was no error in the Allahabad high court order cancelling the takeover of agricultural land in Shahberi village, a majority of whose residents opposed the acquisition.
The high court had said it was a “colourable exercise of executive power” unsustainable under the Land Acquisition Act.
SC bench criticizes Greater Noida Authority for colluding with developers to change land use from industrial to residential
Authority went on to transfer the land to builders even before Uttar Pradesh govt approved change in land use
Agricultural land acquired from Shahberi village for residential use even though 60% of total land acquired for industrial township remained unused
Seven builders – Amrapali, Mahagun, Supertech, Gulshan Homes, Panchsheel, Auracity and Buland Buildtech –
affected by verdict
GNIDA jumped gun on land transfer: SC
New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench on Wednesday upheld the cancellation of a huge tract of land allotted by Greater Noida Authority in Shahberi village in Noida Extension to developers. The housing projects that will be affected include those by Amrapali, Ajnara, Supertech, Mahagun, Panchsheel, SJP Infracon and Gulshan Builders, who together were allotted 4 lakh square metres of land by the Greater Noida Authority.
What really hurt the Greater Noida Authority’s case was transfer of the land to builders even before the Uttar Pradesh government approved the proposal to change the use of the acquired land from industrial to residential. The government had acquired the land for industrial purpose in Shahberi village for the planned development of Greater Noida.
Taking into account the Collector's report that 185 farmers, who are original land owners, would be rendered homeless by the acquisition, the bench repeatedly asked the Greater Noida Authority to have a heart and feel the pain of the farmers.
What irked the bench was the transfer of land to developers in brazen violation of law. “In the name of public interest, Greater Noida Authority was serving private interest,” it said. The builders argued they had no clue that the transfer of land to them was without prior clearance of change of land use and sought protection of the interests of thousands of investors who have put in money in the housing projects.
The SC said, “You were behind the curtain when Greater Noida transferred land for residential purposes without approval.” It also found that 60% of the total land acquired for Greater Noida industrial township have remained unutilized.
The court said a detailed order giving reasons for dismissal of all the special leave petitions would follow soon. The court was livid with the manner the archaic Act was being used to oust poor farmers from their land.