INLD welcomes SC decision on Manesar land scam

Supreme Court scraps illegal Haryana land deals takes the plots away from private builders

Supreme Court scraps illegal Haryana land deals takes the plots away from private builders

The illegal acquisition of land of almost 912 acres in Haryana by private builders under a land acquisition process initiated by the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government between 2004 and 2007, was set aside by the Supreme Court on Monday.

Between 2004 and 2007, after the acquisition was notified, many farmers had sold their lands at a minimal price to private builders.

Just two days before the pronouncement of award for the land acquired by the government on August 26, 2007, an order was passed on August 24, 2007 dropping the acquisition.

The Supreme Court (SC) has chastised the former Congress government in Haryana for selling farmer's agricultural land at throwaway prices to developers.

The bench of Justice A.K. Goel and Uday Lalit said that the acquisition was withdrawn with fraudulent intention after the land was purchased by the private builders in collaboration with state functionaries. "Buyers from whom money was collected by builders will either be entitled to refunds or plots/apartments", the order said.

The bench said all the steps and stages show that builders and private entities were well aware that acquisition would not go through but the landholders were confronted with "smoke screen" of acquisition and were cornered and persuaded in entering into transactions with the builders and private entities. "The unnatural and unreasonable bargain was forced upon the landholders by creating façade of impending acquisition".

"It is clear that considerations other than those which were required to be bestowed, guided the exercise of power in arriving at decisions dated August 24, 2007 and January 29, 2010".

The state may revisit its policy of change of land use and giving colonisation licences in respect of land which was the subject of acquisition, the court said.

Indicting the then government, the order said "in our considered view the decisions dated 24.08.2007 and 29.01.2010 were taken to confer advantages and benefits upon the builders/private entities rather than to carry out or effectuate public goal".

"Certain "middlemen" and builders enriched themselves at the expense of the landholders and public interest which was to be achieved by acquisition", it said.

According to a report in The Economic Times, this was a malafide exercise of power exercised by the state government in Haryana.

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