New Delhi: The Supreme Court today stayed a Calcutta High Court judgement that struck down the Singur Land Act, which allows the West Bengal government to reclaim 400 acres of land earlier given to Tata Motors. The top court also issued a notice to Tata Motors seeking its response within four weeks on the Mamata Banerjee-led government's petition challenging that order.
The judgment delivered by the High Court was suspended for two months by the court itself. Today, the top court said the suspension of the verdict would continue till further orders.
Welcoming the move, Ms Banerjee said today, "I am very happy that the Supreme Court gave this order. I am giving two thousand rupees per month to Singur agricultural labourers and landless labourers and farmers. We are also giving two kilos of rice at the rate of Rs two per kilo. They are happy. I want them to get their land back. The landless labourers must also get their compensation."
In its appeal in the court, the state government has said the purpose of the Act is employment generation, rehabilitation and returning the land to unwilling farmers. It claims the Act doesn't involve land acquisition.
The Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 empowered the state government to regain 400 acres of land out of the leased 997 acres that was given by the Left Front government to Tata Motors in 2007 for a factory to produce India's cheapest car, the Nano.
In June, the Calcutta High Court judgement said that the President's assent was not taken for the Act, making it void and unconstitutional. The High Court also said the judgement will remain suspended for two months, allowing the government to appeal against the order.
The Singur Act was a major part of her campaign ahead of the Bengal elections, which she won with a landslide. Ms Banerjee had earlier promised to return their land to the unwilling farmers of Singur.
The land was acquired from 13,000 owners, but 2000 of them did not accept compensation for their 400 acres of land.
Tata Motors pulled out of Singur in October 2008 and moved their Nano project to Gujarat. The company invested over 1500 crores in Singur and wants compensation.
(With PTI inputs)