Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd was given permission by the Bombay High Court to contest the ₹264 crore compensation for a 10-hectare area that is being taken over for the bullet train project.
The corporation asked for temporary injunctions to stop the state from moving forward with the acquisition award. An appeal submitted by the Maharashtra government asking for permission to deposit the money with the Prothonotary and Senior Master of the high court was being heard by a division bench comprising Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sharmila Deshmukh. The state government noted a project delay of nearly four years brought on by Godrej’s legal actions.
The government requested permission to deposit the compensation in their appeal through supplementary government pleader Jyoti Chavan because “the delay is causing a loss of roughly ₹4,34,421 per day toward the interest.” The government was ordered by the court to act “in line with the law”. Since 1973, there has been an ongoing ownership dispute between the government and Godrej involving more than 3,000 acres of land.
The 534-kilometer long project, which crosses Thane Creek, is scheduled to launch in December 2023. The Maharashtra government asked the HC on Tuesday for permission to swiftly deposit compensation in court so that the project could move forward in the “public interest.”
The bench of Justices Jamdar and Deshmukh stated after hearing the additional government pleader Jyoti Chavan’s argument that “it is always open to the applicant to take appropriate measures as may be lawful.” The company declared on Thursday that the award given by the deputy collector on September 15, more than 26 months after the hearing on July 15, 2020, was void.
It stated in a new application that “it is obvious that the entire processes for the purchase of the plot have undisputedly lapsed in accordance with section 25 of the Equitable Compensation Act and that, as a result, the alleged award is a nullity and void ab initio.”
The State, through the Deputy Collector (Land Acquisition), has also filed an application seeking authorization to deposit the compensation money with the high court, claiming that the project has been delayed by over four years “due to litigation undertaken by (Godrej)”.
The legal dispute is related to a 1973 lawsuit between the state and Godrej regarding ownership of more than 3,000 acres of property. According to the state, the construction of the bullet train is a “priority project” of the Indian government that is being carried out by a government company established under the ministry of railways in collaboration with the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.