Skip to main content

Gujarat High Court bullet train judgment dubbed bad in law, spirit, undesirable

By Our Representative
Well-known environmentalist and human rights activist Rohit Prajapati, in a “quick comment” on the Gujarat High Court's Judgment on the acquisition of land for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet 508 km-long Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, has said that the judgment dated September 19, is “bad in law, spirit and undesirable”.
Prajapati, who was one of the top activists who represented before the Japanese funders of the project, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) expressing concern over the manner in which farmers were allegedly sought to be evicted, regretted that the judgment “reads like a recording of the proceeding and at the end opinion of the court and not like a well-conceived comprehensive judicial order.
According to him, “Crucial principles of the law of the land, legal and other issues raised in the Petition are not dealt within proper legal framework, either in letter or in spirit”, adding, “Acritical and complex matter has been narrowed down to simple opinion by the court without a sound basis, critical examination of all the facts, factors, democratic process of decision making, social and environmental impacts.”
Prajapati, who heads the Vadodara-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, believes, “All in all, the judgment not only sets a bad precedent, but also has severe and grave impacts as well as short and long-term consequences for the project affected people, justice and the environment (including biodiversity).”
Rohit Prajapati
In what has been interpreted as a setback to farmers in Gujarat, the High Court on September 20, junked more than a 100 petitions challenging the land acquisition process for the ambitious bullet train project on grounds of “inadequate” compensation. In their petitions, farmers had challenged the Gujarat government’s notification for the acquisition of their land, contending that the State had no power to acquire land for a multi-state project like that of the bullet train.
The bench, consisting of Justices Anant Dave and Biren Vaishnav, upheld the validity of the Land Acquisition Act, amended by the Gujarat government in 2016, and declined to entertain the petitions challenging the land acquisition for project. Gujarat government sources said, the judgment clears a major hurdle in the way of the ambitious project.
According to them, by upholding the validity of the Gujarat amendment of 2016 to the Centre’s land acquisition law, the High Court recognized that it is a multi-state project, but the Centre has executive powers, which have been given to the state government, to acquire land. Before the amendment, the court noted, the state had no such power, but things changed in 2016.
The court also rejected the farmers’ plea for conducting social impact assessment (SIA), justifying the state’s move to the skip mandatory provisions, which were part of the 2013 Central law. It justified the SIA process carried out under JICA guidelines as “appropriate and satisfactory.”
An estimated 5,000 of the total 6,900 farmers affected by the project are said to have registered objections to the land acquisition process initiated by state authorities.About 1,000 farmers, while the hearing was ongoing, had filed a one-page affidavit registering their objection on the land acquisition process, demanding the nature of compensation should be aligned with the Centre’s land acquisition law.

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

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".

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.