NGO plea against land acquisition annoys SC

The Supreme Court on Monday took exception to a petition filed by an NGO Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) regarding the Nano project in Singur.

The three-member Bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, took strong exception to the petition filed by the organisation, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan. However, it agreed to hear the case along with other petitions pending before it.

A visibly annoyed Bench made observations like, "It's a personal property right, how can an NGO challenge it," and "how can an association challenge a land allotment for public purpose?"

The advocate representing the association persisted and alleged that a separate procedure is required to be followed in cases where land is to be allotted to a company and in this case it was not followed.

Disagreeing with his submission initially, the Bench said, "We don't allow somebody else to file petitions on behalf of others." Questioning the locus standi of APDR for taking up the cause of farmers whose land was acquired by the state Government for Tata Motors' Nano project, the court was reluctant to hear the petition.

The NGO had challenged the Calcutta High Court's decision that upheld as legal the acquisition of fertile agricultural land by the state Government for the project.

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