Bombay High Court, the bullet train is a dream project that cannot be put on hold for personal reasons.
The land owned by the Godrej & Boyce firm was the only remaining parcel to be acquired for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, according to information provided to the court.
The Bombay High Court stated that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project is “a dream project, and the country needs it” while dismissing a lawsuit filed by the Godrej & Boyce Company challenging the purchase of its land for the project.
The order was issued on Thursday by the bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and MM Sathaye. Later, a detailed order will be distributed.
The bench pronounced the verdict and declared, “Public interest and national relevance are both present in the project. There is no need for meddling. The compensation granted to the corporation was lawful. There is no compelling reason, according to the petitioner, for us to use our extra-jurisdictional powers. Instead of the individual interest, the dominant communal interest would win out. The endeavour would be a pioneering one of its sort.”
The company’s attorney, Navroz Seervai, asked for a stay of the ruling so that he may appeal to the Supreme Court. “Seervai continued, “I am not requesting a delay. If the land is taken away, the appeal will become infructuous. Just maintain the status quo, please. The project is far from finished. Really, two weeks can’t hurt the project.”
The National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, contested the plea on the grounds that the land needed to be bought. Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, a former advocate general who was arguing on behalf of the Maharashtra government, disagreed with the argument.
The bench denied the stay that was requested on their own order since it was stated that even ad interim relief from the very beginning had been denied, thus there was no prospect of awarding relief today.
The company’s lawsuit contested the Deputy Collector’s decision to acquire the company’s land after paying compensation of Rs 264 crores on September 15, 2022.
The application by the corporation argued that the award made by the officer was void from the start because all processes for the land purchase that had been started in 2019 had ended in 2020. (Void from the beginning).
Seervai claimed that the land purchase process was “illegal” and that there were “many and patent illegalities” in it.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act modification, which exempted the bullet train project from expert-led social impact assessments, was also contested in the petition.
In his request for a stay of the proceedings, Seervai had made the case that the national interest could not be used as an excuse to reject an immediate interim remedy.
The land acquisition for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project was finished, Kumbhakoni said the court, with the exception of the Godrej & Boyce company’s land. Additionally, he claimed that Godrej & Boyce’s fundamental rights had not been violated and that the writ petition against the purchase of land should be rejected.
Singh noted that whereas NHSRCL had finished acquiring 100% of the property in Gujarat and had started construction on the bullet train project, only 97% of the land had been acquired in Maharashtra.
He said that the properties owned by companies like Godrej & Boyce were those that were up for acquisition.
He argued that Godrej’s appeal was just delaying a project of significant public and national interest and that this delay might increase the project’s cost.
Additionally, he added that increased compensation may be examined and subsequently approved if pay was a worry, but the project shouldn’t suffer any more.