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 under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.