In a major setback for Tata Motors, the Supreme Court today set aside a land acquisition in Bengal's Singur district, initiated by the Left government in 2006 to facilitate the company's setting up its Nano car manufacturing plant.
Earlier in May this year, Justices Gopala Gowda and AK Mishra had heard the Tata's, the Bengal government and the aggrieved farmers of Singur's pleas and had reserved their judgement.
Reportedly, during the hearing, Justice Gowda had mentioned that agricultural land can be acquired for industry, but it is better to avoid the use of mutli-crop producing land for such an activity.
What was the Singur controversy?
The controversy began with the land acquisition of the proposed Nano factory of Tata Motors at Singur in 2006.
The state government (then ruled by the Left) sparked a row by using the 1894 Land Acquisition Act rule to conduct an eminent domain takeover of 997 acres of farmland to have Tata build its factory.
The rule was meant for public improvement projects and the West Bengal government wanted Tata to build in its state. The project was opposed by activists and Opposition parties in Bengal.
Soon after coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee passed a law to take over the land and forced the Tatas to move their project out of the state, to Gujarat's Sanad district.
Tata Motors moved the Calcutta High Court, challenging the law. The land acquisition was upheld by a trial court and the law passed by the Trinamool Congress-led state government was declared unconstitutional on appeal. Thereafter, the dispute moved to the Supreme Court.-With inputs from PTI