Tata Motors Moves Supreme Court over Singur Plot Dispute

In the ongoing disputes between the government of West Bengal and Tata Motors over the Singur plot is another just another problem that has surfaced within the auto industry lately. The home grown auto manufacturer recently announced that they would now appeal before the Supreme Court going against the redistribution of the Singur land that was earlier given to Tata Motors for setting up their Nano factory. The appeal was filed just hours following the rejection of its plea of interim injunction by the Kolkata High Court in stopping the government from taking over the land.

The company stated in a press release that they would bring the matter before the counsel of the Apex Court. It also said that when there is a hearing before the court, both the parties concerned, especially if one of them is the state, must not change the existing facts; the unwarranted haste shown by the state is not favorable to upholding the law.

They also reiterated the appeal put before the HC on June 24, that the state does not take further action in Singur while the hearing, which challenges the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, is still going on.

The company also stated in its release, that the AG had said that it would not be possible for him to reply straight away, but would mull over it the previous weekend. He will communicate today during the hearing. While the company is still waiting for the hearing, there were reports of the WB government taking further action in the redistribution of the Singur plot. The company had also notified the court in lieu of these actions.

The counsel for the company, Samaraditya Pal, said that they would file a fresh petition for challenging the rules in the Singur Act, and the move of the government to begin distribution of the land during the weekend. This plea is a result of the anxiety caused to the company because of the physical distribution of land that is to begin tomorrow as their first petition challenging this Act becomes ineffective.

While according to the notification, there is a window of 30 days to receive applications, former mayor of Kolkata and counsel for Tata Motors, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, who represents the farmers ready to give up their land for the project work, stated that there wasn’t any restriction on the distribution of land.

Judge Saumitra Pal, did not however, pass interim injunction, as the petition filed by the company did not have any specific statement regarding the redistribution of land that will begin tomorrow. The company on immediately moving for an oral submission was asked to make an application and serve a notice to AG.

The Singur land Act charges the company with the non-commissioning and the abandonment of the plant. The company meanwhile claimed that the Act took away their rights to the plot without offering any reasonable compensation, in spite of them investing INR 1,800 crore in their plant on the Singur plot.

The fast paced events are likely to move the matter in front of the Apex Court, however the company has not commented on it. The government of West Bengal in anticipation already filed a forewarning before the SC so that the petition filed by the company was not taken ex-parte.

The urgency of the company is a result of many state ministers’ statements that their key objective was redistributing the land as fast as it was possible. The Industry and Commerce minister of the state, Partha Chatterjee, said that their government was in the process of finalising land redistribution, and would go ahead with it as soon as they could, while the hearing was going on in the court. This move also prompted Bhattacharya, the lawyer for the farmers willing to give up their land for the project, to consider filing an independent writ petition to counter the intervention application.

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