| Court asks
|• How many landowners gave consent to the acquisition'
• How many didn’t respond'
• How many landowners got the compensation'
• How many were not paid the consent bonus'
• Did all co-sharers agree to give their land'
Calcutta, Feb. 23: The high court today asked the government to show under which law it adopted two different yardsticks to compensate landlosers in Singur.
Eighteen days after issuing the takeover notice last September, the government said it would compensate the owners under Section 11(2) of the land acquisition law, which gave it the right to give a 10 per cent bonus to those consenting to the process.
When many farmers did not respond to the announcement, the government said they would be compensated under Section 11(1), which deals with acquisition for a “public purpose” and has no provision for the bonus.
According to legal experts, two sections of the act cannot be adopted concurrently.
The division bench of acting Chief Justice B. Bhattacharaya and Justice K.K. Prasad asked the government to file an affidavit giving details of those who accepted cheques for their land.
The government has published a list of those who agreed to the acquisition — about 960 acres out of 997-odd were taken over with owners’ consent, it has claimed — but not of those who opposed it.
The court asked if all partners in joint properties had given their nod to the sale and a slew of other related questions (see box). The government also has to clarify the modes of payment.
The order followed a petition by a social worker challenging the acquisition process.
Advocate-general Balai Ray told the court that the Singur acquisition was conducted in accordance with the law.
Earlier, too, the government had been caught on the wrong side of the law over Singur for flouting procedures while clamping Section 144.
All cases relating to the Singur acquisition, pending with different benches of the high court, would be heard together on April 13.