SC restores 688-acre G’gram acquisition

NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court today restored acquisition of 688 acres of land in Gurugram during the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana, holding that the decision to withdraw the order of acquisition was a fraud played by an unholy nexus between the government machinery and the private builders.

SC restores 688-acre  G’gram acquisition

harinder@tribunemail.com

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12

The Supreme Court today restored acquisition of 688 acres of land in Gurugram during the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government in Haryana, holding that the decision to withdraw the order of acquisition was a fraud played by an unholy nexus between the government machinery and the private builders.

 A Bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit annulled the decisions dated August 24, 2007 and January 29, 2010 as being brought about by mala fide exercise of power. “The greater victim was  public interest,” it said.

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 It directed that the land in question shall vest with HUDA/HSIIDC, as may be directed by the State of Haryana, free from all encumbrances. 

It asked Haryana to revisit its policy of change of land use and giving colonisation licence in respect of the land which was subject matter of acquisition. Noting that substantial sums were made over to “middle men”, it directed that in the pending investigation, “the CBI may do well to unravel the truth. In any case, such hefty sums made over to ‘middle men’ cannot be said to be rightfully earned by and belonging to them,” it added.

“In our view, this money rightfully belongs to the State and none other. We direct the authorities of the State as well as the Central Government to reach the depths of such transactions and recover every single pie and make it over to the State Government. “A complete probe into the transactions, including unearthing unnatural gains received by ‘middle men’, shall be undertaken by the CBI,” the Bench ordered.

The SC also requested the HC to dispose of petitions on the Justice SN Dhingra Commission of Inquiry “as early as possible and preferably within two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order so that public interest may not suffer by delay in such decision”. “The transactions entered into between the landholders and the concerned builders/private entities in the present case were not voluntary and were brought about by fraudulent influence. Certain ‘middlemen’ and builders enriched themselves at the expense of the landholders and public interest which was to be achieved by acquisition,” the Bench said.

 It said, “The exercise of power under the (Land Acquisition) Act was guided by considerations extraneous to the provisions of the Act and as a matter of fact, was designed to enrich the builders/private entities. These decisions were nothing but fraud on power.”

The period between 24.08.2007 and up to the date of this judgment shall not be counted for the purposes of Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, it ordered.

“All transactions entered into during the period from 24.08.2007 till 29.01.2010, pursuant to which the original landholders transferred their holdings in favour of builders/private entities or third parties shall be subject to and the interest of the respective parties shall be governed by the directions issued hereafter.”  The builders/private entities will not be entitled to recover the consideration paid by them to the landholders. The sale consideration paid by the builders/private entities to the landholders shall be treated towards compensation under the award and the landholders will not be required to refund any amount to such builders/private entities.

 “The landholders will be at liberty to prefer Reference under Section 18 of the Act within a period of three months from today. For the purposes of maintaining such Reference, the reasoning that weighed while passing Awards dated 09.03.2006 and 93 24.02.2007 shall be the basis.

“If the Reference Court were to enhance the compensation, the amounts received by the landholders by way of consideration from the builders/private entities shall be appropriated towards such sum awarded by the Reference Court.  “If the landholders are still entitled to something more than what they had received from the builders/private entities, the differential sum shall be made over to them by the Haryana towards acquisition of their interest in the lands in question. “If, however, what the landholders had received towards consideration from the builders/private entities is found to be in excess of what is awarded by the Reference Court, the remainder shall not be recovered from them,” it said.

Manesar case dates back to Hooda govt

  • Case dates back to August 27, 2004, when Haryana Industries Department issued a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, for acquiring 912-acre land in Manesar, Lakhnoula and Naurangpur in Gurgaon for setting up Chaudhari Devi Lal Industrial Township 
  • Notification under Section 6 was issued on August 25, 2005, only in respect of 688 acres after Land Acquisition Collector recommended 224 acre be released from acquisition
  • Even after issuance of notification, builders/private entities continued approaching landholders. Cornered with impending acquisition and idea that compensation would be given @Rs 12.5 lakh per acre, owners were persuaded for transferring land to builders @Rs 20-25 lakh per acre
  • On August 2, 2007, notices under Section 9 were issued calling upon the landholders to appear on August 26, 2007, for pronouncement of award. Builders started enhancing price and bought land @ Rs 80 lakh per acre
  • But on August 24, 2007, the state government dropped the acquisition, stating that a fresh notification would be issued
  • Petitions against government were disposed of by Punjab-Haryana High Court
  • Government went on to give approval to private group housing societies on land purchased by builders
  • Having come to know of such a fraud, farmers started an agitation and went to HC against ABW Infrastructure Limited, Metropolis Realtors Pvt Ltd and Flair Realtors Pvt Ltd, others
  • Farmers approached SC  after HC on December 15, 2014, dismissed petition

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