‘Farmer’ Big B gets court reprieve


Lucknow : Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan got a breather Friday after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court stayed till further orders the verdict of the Faizabad Commissioner declaring allotment of government farmland to him in Uttar Pradesh as illegal.

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Justice Devi Prasad Singh also admitted a petition by Bachchan, currently in Britain attending a film awards function, challenging the Faizabad Commissioner's order.

Staying the Faizabad Commissioner's judgement, Singh fixed July 23 for further hearing in the case.

He gave the Uttar Pradesh government four weeks' time to file a counter and two weeks to the petitioner (Bachchan) to file a rejoinder.

"The court has also agreed that the petitioner was not given sufficient time to put across his case… the judgement of the commissioner's court was one sided," Bachchan's counsel Mohammed Arif Khan told reporters.

Describing the order as "a major relief", Khan said that the April 24 judgement by the Faizabad Commissioner was ex-parte.

On May 31, the court had termed the allotment of 4.142 hectares land to Bachchan in Barabanki district as "illegal". The Faizabad Commissioner's court had also observed that the papers pertaining to the deal appeared to have been forged.

Senior standing counsel of the Uttar Pradesh government Devendra Upadhyay said the state government primarily wanted to know how the superstar could get the title of a gram sabha (village council) land. "The secondary matter is the address provided by him in revenue records…. While the address is 17, Clive Road, Allahabad, the house was later sold by his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan in 1958 to one S.S. Tiwari Advocate," he said.