A division bench comprising Justice Sunil Ambawani and Justice Kashi Nath Pandey, while allowing a bunch of writ petitions filed by residents of Shahberi village in the district, said the entire action of acquiring the land was a "colourable exercise of powers" and ordered return of the land to their owners.
The bench set aside two notifications issued by the state government on 10.6.2009 and 9.11.2009 for acquiring the land.
In the notification dated 10.06.2009, the state government had proposed "to acquire a total area of 156.93 hectares of land in the village while the one dated 9.11.2009, published in the official gazette, had declared the acquisition of land.
Passing the order, the court remarked "the entire action of acquiring the land was an colourable exercise of powers.
"The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority was fully aware and was planning to use the land in village Shahberi and neighbouring villages for multi-storey housing complexes to be developed by builders on relaxed conditions".
"The land is proposed to be acquired at the rate of about Rs 850 per square meter and to be given, within a month, to the builders at Rs 10,000 per square meter and that too on payment of 5 per cent of the price, on allotment", the court said.
Quashing the notifications issued by the government and "all consequential actions taken by GNOIDA", the court ordered "the respondents will hand over the possession of the land back to the land owners".
The court also held that all the petitioners would be "made entitled to the costs of prosecuting the cases in accordance with the rules of the court".
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