Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011 with a view to return land
to the owners from whom it was previously acquired for purpose of establishing
a manufacturing plant for Tata Motors. Since the project was stalled and
subsequently relocated to another state, the issue pertains to the manner in
which the land is to be dealt with.
challenged by Tata Motors. Although it was upheld by a single judge of the
Calcutta High court, it was found to be unconstitutional on appeal by a
division bench, which pronounced its judgment last week.
through JUDIS – Tata Motors & Anr. v. The State of West Bengal & Ors. (Coram:
Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose & Justice Mrinal Kanti Chaudhuri).
validity and legislative competence (essentially the repugnancy of the Singur
Land Act with the central legislation being the Land Acquisition Act), it
brings to the fore various legal (as well as political) issues involved in land
acquisition for industrial development. The following are key extracts from the
judgment of the division bench:
behalf of the State and the parties we come to the conclusion and hold that
both the Acts i.e. L.A. Act and present Singur Act come within the same field
i.e. within the Entry 42 of List III.
is now whether the law enacted by the State Government i.e. Singur Land
Rehabilitation & Development Act, 2011 and the Land Acquisition Act, 1894
can go together and whether the impugned Act is repugnant to Land Acquisition
come to the conclusion that Singur Act speaks about acquisition. We have also
compared the Act with that of the Land Acquisition Act and it appears to us
that the Act has failed to come over the test laid down by the Supreme Court in
several decisions. It appears to us that there is clear and direct
inconsistency between the Land Acquisition Act and the Singur Land
Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, and, in our considered opinion, such
inconsistency is absolutely irreconcilable.
such between the provisions of the two Acts that it would be direct collision
with each other and it is impossible to obey the one without disobeying the
Singur Land Rehabilitation & Development Act, 2011 is held to be
unconstitutional and void since it is without having assent from the President
The court, however, stayed the operation of the
judgment for two months to enable aggrieved parties to go on appeal.