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Tata Motors Limited. Singurpdf

Tata Motors Limited. Singurpdf

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Published by Ruchira Singh

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Published by: Ruchira Singh on Sep 28, 2011
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09/28/2011

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In the High Court at Calcutta
Constitutional Writ JurisdictionAppellate SideW.P. No. 9949 (W) of 2011WithW.P. No. 10198 (W) of 2011
 
TATA MOTORS LIMITED AND ANOTHERVersusSTATE OF WEST BENGAL AND OTHERS
For the petitioners : Mr. Samaraditya Pal, Sr. Adv.Mr. Siddhartha Mitra, Sr. Adv.Ms. Vineeta Meharia, Adv.Mr. Soumitra Dutta, Adv.For the respondent Nos. : Mr. Anindya Kumar Mitra, learned1,3,5,6 & 7 Advocate GeneralMr. Saktinath Mukherjee, Sr. Adv.Mr. Asoke Banerjee, Ld. Govt. PleaderMr. Kalyan Kr. Bandyopadhyay, Sr. Adv.Mr. Protik Prokash Banerji, Adv.Mr. Paritosh Sinha, Adv.Mr. Abhratosh Majumdar, Adv.Mr. Sakya Sen, Adv.Mr. Subhobrata Datta, Adv.Mr. Ramanand Agarwal, Adv.Mr. Swagata Datta, Adv.Mr. Mintu Goswami, Adv.Mr. Sandip Chakraborty, Adv.Mr. Sumon Sengupta, Adv.Mr. Debasish Ghosh, Adv.Mr. Ayan Banerjee, Adv.Mr. Arindam Mondal, Adv.Mr. Satrajit Sinha, Adv.Mr. Saikat Chatterji, Adv.Mr. Asish Das, Adv.For the respondent Nos. : Mr. Kalyan Kr. Bandyopadhyay, Sr. Adv.2 & 4 Mr. Protik Prokash Banerji, Adv.Mr. Abhratosh Majumdar, Adv.Mr. Swagata Datta, Adv.
 
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Mr. Sirsanya Bandyopadhyay, Adv.For the respondent No. 8 : Mr. G.S. Makkar, Adv.Mr. Raj Sekhar Basu, Adv.For the respondent Nos. : Mr. Asoke Banerjee, Ld. Govt. Pleader5, 6 & 7 in Mr. Subrata Talukdar, Adv.W.P. No. 10198(W) of 2011Heard on: 28.07.11, 29.07.11, 01.08.11, 02.08.11, 03.08.11, 04.08.11, 05.08.11,10.08.11, 11.08.11, 12.08.11, 16.08.11, 17.08.11, 18.08.11, 19.08.11, 24.08.11,25.08.11, 26.08.11, 30.08.11, 01.09.11, 02.09.11, 05.09.11, 06.09.11, 07.09.11,08.09.11, 09.09.11, 12.09.11, 13.09.11, 14.09.11, 15.09.11, 16.09.11. Judgment on:
28
th
September, 2011
 
I.P. MUKERJI, J.BACKGROUND FACTS:
 Two writ applications preferred by Tata Motors Limited (hereinafter referred toas the “Tatas”) were heard by me between 28
th
July, 2011 and 16
th
 September, 2011, when hearing was concluded. One challenges theconstitutionality of the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act,2011, hereafter “the impugned Act” and the action of the State thereunder;the other, the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Rules, 2011,framed under it. The history before institution of this litigation is of paramount importance. I will try to recount the events, which finally led to this contested litigation.In and around 2006, the Government of West Bengal was trying to invite the Tatas to set up an establishment for the manufacture of their conceived ‘smallcar’ ‘Nano’. The Tatas, it seems to me, were being similarly entreated by someother states in the country, to set up the industry there. One of such states was Uttarakhand. It offered them many incentives and concessions. The Tatas were willing to consider investment in West Bengal provided itsgovernment was able to outmatch these benefits. I have no doubt, in mymind, that the government was able to convince them that they would makeavailable to them comparable if not better incentives, concessions andexemptions. The Tatas did decide to manufacture this ‘small car’ here. Theyannounced to the world that the manufactured car would be cleared from theSingur factory in District Hooghly in October, 2008.
 
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According to records, the government promised them land at this place forsetting up this project. More than 1000 acres of land were required.By the end of May, 2006, the government started proceeding in the mostexpeditious manner to provide this land. The proposal for providing this land was approved by the cabinet in its meeting held on 31
st
May, 2006. By hisletter dated 6
th
July, 2006, the Joint Secretary to the Government of WestBengal wrote to the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation(WBIDC), the fourth respondent, the District Magistrate being the fifthrespondent and the Land and Land Revenue Department being the thirdrespondent telling them that he was “directed” to ask them to initiateacquisition proceedings. It appears that almost immediately the fifthrespondent who was also the Collector issued notices under Section 4 of theLand Acquisition Act, 1894. I have noticed from annexure ‘P2’ that suchnotice was issued on 13
th
July, 2006 and notified in the gazette on 19
th
July,2006. There are also notices issued subsequently and gazetted thereafter.0ne was issued on 17
th
July, 2006, and gazetted on 20
th
July, 2006, anotheron 21
st
July, 2006 and gazetted on the same day, yet another on 24
th
July,2006 and gazetted on the same day and so on. I have not been invited to anynotice issued after 24
th
July, 2006, which makes me believe that the Section 4notices were issued and gazetted between 13
th
July, 2006 and 24
th
July,2006, more or less.Acquisition proceedings were speedily undertaken. 997.11 acres of land wereacquired. On 23
rd
September, 2006 and 25
th
Septmeber, 2006 awards of compensation were made by the Collector. On 4
th
October, 2006, this land was “handed over” to the fourth respondent. I am told that it was conveyed tothem by the State. This respondent got its name mutated in the land records.1.75 acres were set apart for setting up a power station and handed over tothem on 26
th
October, 2006. Thereafter, the said respondent applied to theland department for conversion of land from agricultural land to factory land.It was decided by the State that 645.67 acres would be leased out to the Tatas.On 20
th
December, 2006, the fourth respondent wrote to the Tatas askingthem to take “permissive possession of 950 acres of land pending finalizationof the lease deed and lease terms and conditions.” The letter also mentionedthat this respondent had ‘acquired land’ measuring 997 acres. They proposedto lease out 950 acres of this land to the Tatas and its ‘selected vendors’. Thepersons who, were to set up auxiliary or ancillary industries around the Tatasfactory in Singur were referred to as the ‘vendors’.

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