In a major disappointment to the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court on Friday articulated its verdict in favour of Tata Motors over the Singur land dispute, which has been locked in a legal trouble for about a year.
The High Court held the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, as "unconstitutional and void." While reading out the judgement, the bench comprising of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice Mrinal Kanti Chowdhury offered two months time for the West Bengal government to move the Supreme Court challenging the court's order.
TMC-led West Bengal government and Tata Motors were engaged in a legal battle for about a year over Singur dispute.
In fact, returning the farmland to farmers was one of the several promises that the Trinammol Congress government had made before coming to power.
Accordingly, Mamata Banerjee passed an act to let the farmers to acquire nearly 1,000 acres of farm land in Hooghly district, West Bengal, which was allotted for the industrial purpose. It was one of the first bills signed by Mamata after assuming the Chief Minister's office, in a deal to win the hearts of the farmers.
Later, Tata Motors moved the court against the Singur land act. Since the case was in the court, the farmers were unable to resume their inhabitation on the abandoned land.
Singur is the one of the fertile agricultural region in Bengal.
In 2006, when the Left government ruled WB, it leased 997 acres of Singur land to Tata Motors for 99 years to set up a factory and to manufacture low-cost Nano cars, by acquiring plots from about 13,000 farmers of which 2,000 were not willing to give their land for the industry purpose. Hence, 400 acres of land belonging to the un-willing farmers was involved in a land dispute.
As the dispute persisted, in 2008, Tata Motors decided to move the factory plan out of West Bengal, indicating that the remainaing 600 acres of land was not sufficient to raise the factory. The manufacturing company blamed the then Opposition party Trinamool Congress for fuelling the protest.
After Mamata became the chief minister in 2011, ending the 30-year Left rule in the state, she passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, which allowed the rebel farmers to get their 400 acres of land back.