Skip to main content

Dholera SIR challenged: Gujarat High Court bench issues notice to state, central government

Farmers of Dholera SIR
By Our Representative
Five years after it was enacted, a farmers’ body of Gujarat has challenged the constitutional validity of the state’s Special Investment Region (SIR) Act, 2009. The Gujarat Khedut Samaj (GKU), in a statement issued in Ahmedabad, said that the GKU, in association with “residents of 22 villages of Dholera SIR” -- being set up on 55,000 hectares (ha) of land towards the south of Ahmedabad along the Gulf of Khambhat as a smart city as a Central government project -- have “challenged” the Act and the notification declaring Dholera region as SIR.
“The division bench of the Gujarat High Court consisting of Chief Justice Bhattacharya and Justice Jamshed Pardiwala heard the plea filed by senior advocate Krishnakant Vakharia and admitted the petition. They have issued notices to the Dholera SIR Authority, the Government of Gujarat and the Government of India. The prayer for a stay order will be heard after two weeks”, the statement said.
The Gujarat government has planned a dozen SIRs, of which two are under implementation – in Dholera and in Dahej-Hazira in South Gujarat. One of the dozen SIRs, Mandal-Bhechraji in North Gujarat, was drastically scaled down from 44 villages to just eight villages following farmers’ protests.
Challenging the Act, the petitioners said, as per the section 17 of the Act, the Gujarat government “can apply the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act under which it has the right to take away 50 per cent of the farmers’ land without any compensation.” They added, “The powers and jurisdiction of the panchayats have been restricted to the village gamtal only.”
At the same time, the petitioners underlined, “The provisions of the SIR Act are contrary to the provisions in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution pertaining to panchayats, and is therefore unconstitutional.” According to a senior constitutional expert, “The 9th schedule was included in the Indian constitution with the objective to deny the courts the power to challenge the validity of certain laws framed by Parliament to protect citizens from violation of fundamental rights and measures progressive land reforms laws.”
The decision to challenge the SIR Act comes following a flutter among Dholera SIR farmers, who have received notices to acquire 50 per cent of their land they have been owning for generations (click HERE to read). The notice, copies of which are with Counterview, warns the farmers that they must report to the authorities on a given date and hand over the possession of their land.
The notice further says, the farmers must instead take the title of a new piece, which would be half of the original. If they fail to do it, the Dholera SIR authorities reserve the right to evict them from their original piece land. The land, the notice says, has been taken away, under Section 17(2) of the Gujarat SIR Act, 2009, which puts the entire SIR area under the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act, 1976 for developing roads for the SIR.
Significantly, the issue of 50 per cent deduction of land came up at the environmental public hearing for Dholera SIR, which took place on January 3, 2014, where farmers raised strong protest against it. The Gujarat government officials told them that in the “Development Plan and Draft Town Plan” for Dholera, there wouldn’t be any deduction of land only for “notified rivers, ponds and water bodies”, but “with a view to provide world class infrastructure and premium civic amenities in Dholera SIR, a policy decision has been taken on 50 per cent deduction of land”.
KD Chandnani, CEO, Dholera SIR Development Authority, told the hearing, “Under the Town Planning Scheme, after deduction of land up to 50 per cent, land will be allotted to the original land owner in a geometric shape, and with all the infrastructure facilities, in the form of a final plot. Compensation for the deducted land will be paid as per the jantri April 2011.” Jantri is the government assessment of the value of land, and the rate being applied as compensation is several times less than the market value the farmers can get in case they sale away their land on their own today.

Comments

TRENDING

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Madhya Pradesh tops India's 145 instances of 'anti-Christian atrocities' this year

Counterview Desk  A report prepared by the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), founded in 1951 as the national alliance of evangelical Christians of the Protestant denomination, in its just-released report, “Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021”, has said that an analysis of 145 cases of violence it has documented against Christians, mainly by non-state actors, “stems from an environment of targeted hate.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Demolition drive: Why aren't high-end hotels, farmhouses treated same way as Khorigaon?

By Our Representative A public hearing, sponsored by the civil rights group National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) to hear the affected citizens of Khorigaon, off Faridabad, Delhi NCR, has seen local people complaining how their houses are being demolished even as the entire area was converted into a prison through heavy police deployment.

How BSF, police, court turned Bangladeshi woman slave victim into accused in crime

Counterview Desk  Civil rights leader Kirity Roy has strongly objected to the manner in which the Border Security Force (BSF) , the police and the judiciary in West Bengal have treated a 35 years old Bangladeshi woman victim of human trafficking, who was subjected to sexual exploitation for 15 long years, has been declared guilty of violating the Foreigners Act, violating all human rights norms.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example