The Bombay High Court reserved judgement in a case brought by Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited, which contested the company’s receipt of a Rs 264 crore settlement from the state government for the acquisition of its land for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project. The National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited , represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, requested permission from the court to measure the land that was still under Godrej’s control.
But because they had already waited this long, a division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and MM Sathaye instructed the NHSRCL to wait some more. Singh informed HC that while NHSRCL had bought all the land required for the project in Gujarat and had started work there, it had only obtained 97% of the land required in Maharashtra.
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He continued that Godrej and other private parties had land that was up for acquisition and that the company’s current request was delaying construction, which may increase costs. Singh added that if compensation was the only issue, it might be raised if the court so decided. On behalf of the state acquisition authority, former advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni stressed that Section 38 of the Land Acquisition Act required possession to be given to the appropriate authorities within three months of the passing of an acquisition award.
In the current situation, the three-month window had already passed while the petition was in court. The petition was still ongoing, so the authorities decided to wait before taking any action. Kumbhakoni and Singh expressed concern that the corporation would use this as evidence against the government to claim that no attempt was made to seize the land.
The land acquisition for the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project has been completed, the Maharashtra government informed the Bombay High Court, with the exception of the site owned by Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in Mumbai. The state government urged the court to hear the business’s appeal as soon as possible, which contested the deputy collector’s decision to compensate the company with Rs 264 crore on September 15 for taking its 39,252 sq m (9.69 acre) parcel of land for the bullet train project. Justices RD Dhanuka and SG Dige, sitting as a division bench, announced that they will start holding routine hearings on the claim.
Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, a former attorney general, concluded his arguments on behalf of the state acquisition authority. Kumbhakoni cited Section 38 of the Land Acquisition Act, which required that possession be given to the appropriate authorities within three months of the acquisition award being approved.
The three-month limit in this situation has already passed while the petition was being debated. The petition was still pending in court, so the authorities did nothing about it. Kumbhakoni and Singh expressed concern that the corporation would use the fact that no attempt was made to obtain possession of the land as a defence against the government. However, Seervai gave the court his word that no such defence would be made.