SC asks WB govt not to return land to farmers in Singur

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today directed the West Bengal government not to go ahead with distribution and return of land in Singur to farmers which was acquired for Tata Motors’ small car project Nano.

“As an interim order we direct state government not to hand over or return land to farmers concerned until further order passed by the Calcutta High Court,” a vacation bench comprising justices P Sathasivam an A K Patnaik said.

The bench said it was making it clear that this was an “interim arrangement” and it was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the case.

The judges said they were passing a limited interim order and asking the high court to proceed with the main matter in which the Tatas have challenged the new law enacted by the Mamata Banerjee government for taking possession of land and distributing it to farmers who were the original owners.

However, the bench said since the main issues were pending before the high court, it was not inclined to go into them.

“We are not inclined to interfere at this stage on the main issues pending before the high court,” it said.

The bench observed it was granting interim protection as senior counsel P P Rao, appearing for the state government, said the possession of land will remain in the hands of state government till the high court decides the issues.

During the proceedings, the bench observed it is not a question of political issues but a question of rights.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Tata Motors challenging the order of Calcutta High Court which refused to grant any relief to it. -PTI

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