Ahmedabad, Dec 10: The Gujarat High Court today ordered status quo at the ambitious Dholera special investment region in the district while admitting a public interest litigation against the land acquisition by the government.Gujarat Khedut Samaj, led by the veteran activist and former state minister Sanat Mehta, has filed the PIL on behalf of farmers of 22 villages in Dholera tehsil.(Also Read: High Court allows music system at Varanasi ghat for Narendra Modi-Shinzo Abe visit)
The bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and V M Pancholi posted the matter for further hearing on December 15. Till then, it barred the state government from carrying out any activity in the SIR, located around 30 km from here.The SIR is part of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.The petition also challenges the Special Investment Region Act brought in by Gujarat government in 2009 which aims at facilitating SIRs for industrial development.The petition says that several provisions of the Act are unconstitutional.
Petitioner’s lawyer Krishnakant Vakharia argued that section 17 of the Act allows the government to acquire half the land from farmers without paying any compensation as it is deemed to be acquired under the Town Planning Act.Though DMIC passes through six states, except Gujarat no other state has a law under which the land can be acquired without paying compensation, he said.
SIR Act contradicts the central land acquisition Act of 2013 which gives the right to compensation, and whenever there is a conflict between Central and state acts, the Central act prevails, said advocate Vakharia.Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, for the state, however argued that Dholera SIR project was important not only for Gujarat but the country and the government was working in the interest of the country.