The land, acquired ostensibly by the government for the purpose of planned development at one-tenth of the market rate, was later sold at a premium to private developers.
"The High Court has found that the whole exercise of land acquisition was a colourable exercise of power and cancelled the land acquisition", said farmers' lawyer Parminder Singh Bhatti.
The court's order was immediately welcomed by aggrieved farmers. But investors and developers are nervous, fearing more such interventions by the courts in the coming days.
The Allahabad High Court had, just two months ago, scrapped the acquisition of 156 hectares of land in Shahberi Village of Noida Extension. The decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court had also imposed a cost of Rs. 10 lakh on the Greater Noida Industrial Authority (GNIDA) for nexus with the builders and directed it to hand over the land to the villagers and farmers.
This translates into nearly 25,000 homes that are currently being built by prime developers like Amrapali, Supertech, Patel Builders and Nirala Estates.
Developers now haven't been left with much of a choice than to buy farmers' land afresh at market rates without the state government acting as a go-between.
"Farmers are ready to give the land. They just want more money", said Ajay Kumar, Director, Amrapali.
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