Chennai, Jun 28 (PTI) The Madras High Court today issued notice to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government on a petition seeking to nullify the land acquisition process for the Rs-10,000 crore greenfield Chennai-Salem highway project. Also Read - Did Pathan Director Siddharth Anand Slap His Assistant On Set of The Film? Know The Truth Here

The petitioner, “Poovulagin Nanbargal” (friends of earth), an NGO, has also sought to strike down section 105 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFC Act) and the Fourth Schedule to the Act, contending that these are discriminatory. Also Read - IPL 2021 Auction Live Updates List of Released/ Retained Players: Sanju Samson to Take Over as Royals Captain

When the petition came up for hearing before a division bench of justices T S Sivagnanam and N Seshasayee, Advocate General Vijay Narayan submitted that the land-owners stood to benefit from the compensation, which was three to four times the value of the land. Also Read - 'Desh ke Gaddaron ko, Goli Maaro Saalo ko': Bengal BJP Supporters Raise Slogan During a Party Rally

On behalf of the Centre, Additional Solicitor General G Rajagopalan argued that the petitioner was not affected by the notification and hence, had no locus standi in the matter.

The bench then issued notices, which were accepted by Assistant Solicitor General G Karthikeyan on behalf of the Centre and state government pleader T N Rajagopalan, and posted the matter to July 12 for arguments on maintainability of the petition.

The petitioner has claimed that the authorities have already started the land acquisition process under the National Highways Act, 1956 in respect of the project, even before receiving objections from those likely to be affected by it.

The petition has sought to declare section 105 of the RFC Act and the Fourth Schedule to the Act as unconstitutional and null and void.

Contrary to the objective of the RFC Act, which envisages a “humane” process of land acquisition with least disturbance to the land owners, section 105 precludes such beneficiary mandatory provisions for those whose lands are sought to be acquired under enactments under the Fourth Schedule to the Act, including the National Highways Act, the petitioner has submitted.

Since section 105 “perpetuates discriminatory treatment” between those covered by the RFC Act and those coming under the Fourth Schedule enactments, it should be declared null and void, along with the schedule, the petitioner has contended.

The project, which seeks to build a 277-km eight-lane highway, has been facing opposition from certain quarters on the ground that farm and forest lands will be affected.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.