Court rejects Tata’s plea on Singur land


Kolkata : The Calcutta High Court Monday rejected Tata Motors’ plea to restrain the West Bengal government from returning land in Hooghly district’s Singur to farmers from whom it was taken by the Left Front regime for the company’s small car plant, a lawyer said.

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The company had filed a fresh petition, seeking an ex-parte (in the absence of the other party) interim relief.

After this prayer was rejected by a single-judge bench, the company approached a two-judge bench seeking to move an ex-parte appeal as well as oral submission, but neither of the pleas was accepted, according a state government counsel.

In the morning, the petitioner’s plea for ex-parte relief was rejected by Justice Soumitra Pal after the government opposed the company’s move.

Moving the application, Tata Motors’ counsel Samaraditya Pal alleged the government had made a mockery of law by working in great rush even on the weekend, and starting the process of returning the land to farmers “in great haste”.

Pal prayed for interim relief asking for a restraint order against the government retruning the land to farmers.

He said that the return of land would start Tuesday, therefore a restraint order was a necessity.

Challenging the company’s plea, the government’s counsel Anindya Mitra said there was no scope for giving an ex-parte interim relief to the petitioner.

Justice Pal asked Mitra if the government would return the land to farmers Tuesday, to which he replied in the negative.

Mitra said that under the law 30 days had been provided for inviting and submitting forms for returning the land and due rules and regulations will be followed.

The court said since no specific statement was made in the petition that land distribution would start Tuesday, no interim order was being passed.

The Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, which came into force June 21, provides for scrapping the land lease to the company by the erstwhile Left Front government for the now-abandoned small car plant.

The company challenged the act which vested the land in the government, which evicted the automobile giant from the plant.

The state assembly June 14 passed the bill that was designed to meet the ruling Trinamool Congress’s pre-poll promise of returning 400 acres land to the farmers from whom the Left Front government allegedly took it against their will.