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Apex court notice on E-W land takeover

The Supreme Court has sought a response from the railways, Bengal government and the Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation on an appeal challenging the proposed acquisition of land at Bowbazar for East-West Metro.

The bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the three parties on Monday after counsel for the Central Calcutta Citizensí Welfare Association submitted that the acquisition notification issued on November 13, 2009, had not been served or displayed in accordance with the law.

The association moved the apex court with a plea to declare the acquisition process null and void.

The process had been quashed by a single bench of Calcutta High Court but later upheld by a division bench of the court.

The state government had submitted in the high court that it had paid compensation to occupants within the stipulated two years of issuing the notification.

According to the state, the notification had been served and displayed on November 16 and November 17, 2009. Hence, the award on November 15, 2011, was within two years of serving/displaying the notification, as stipulated by the Land Acquisition Act.

The division bench of the high court that upheld the acquisition had held that notices were displayed at a conspicuous place in the locality, near the land that was proposed to be acquired.

The association comprising shop owners and residents of the area, off CR Avenue, told the apex court during a brief hearing that the division bench did not consider the fact that the acquisition proceedings had lapsed as the state government had failed to publish the award of compensation within the statutory two years (from the issue of notification), as stipulated by Section 11 of the Land Acquisition Act. Despite the high court clearance, the Bengal government did not try to evict the occupants.

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