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SC notice on plea against land acquisition for Bullet Train
SC notice on plea against land acquisition for Bullet Train

New Delhi, Jan 17 (TIWN) The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to look into a plea challenging the land acquisition for construction and implementation of the 508-km long bullet train project, aimed at providing high-speed connectivity between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose issued notice to the Centre, the Gujarat government and National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd, among others on a petition filed by Jigrabhai Amratbhai Patel and others.  The Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project is being carried out by the Centre in collaboration with the Japan government.  Senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Sanjay Parekh and advocate Kamini Jaiswal, representing the affected farmers and landowners, moved the apex court challenging the validity of the Gujarat High Court''s September 19, 2019 judgment dismissing their pleas.  Issuing the notice, the top court has sought response from the authorities concerned and posted the matter for further hearing on March 20. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, argued in favour of the High Court judgement, which turned down the batch of petitions seeking to put on hold the land acquisition proceedings for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project. 

A division bench, headed by Justice A.S. Dave, had said the compensation offered to farmers by the state government is fair as it upheld the validity of the Land Acquisition Act, amended by the Gujarat government in 2016 and subsequently approved by the President. 

One of the directions the petitioners sought was to revise and update the land rates according to the market value as per the statutory norms and rules and the mandate of Section 26 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.  They also contended that in 2016, the Gujarat government amended the principal law of 2013 completely doing away with the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Consent Clause.  The High Court had expressed its opinion that the provision of not conducting the SIA under the amended Act does not come under the category of "excessive delegation", which was contended by the agitating farmers.

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