Kolkata, June 24: Tata Motors Ltd today pleaded before the Calcutta High Court for a workable solution for a status quo in any further work on the Singur land, which the state has vested, till the case is heard out.
Appearing for Tata Motors Ltd (TML), counsel Samaraditya Pal submitted before Justice Soumitra Pal that since it has lost possession of land at Singur, for such time that the court hears the petition, status quo be maintained.
He submitted that the reason for the prayer was media reports that some guidelines were being formed for distribution of the land vested by the government vide the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011.
Pal prayed that a workable solution be reached to ensure status quo at Singur where 997 acres of land was acquired for the Tata Motor's Nano plant and ancillary units. TML shifted the plant to Gujarat in October, 2008.
Asked by Justice Pal if he would like to discuss the issue with the TML counsel, West Bengal Advocate General Anindya Mitra, in response, said he would look into the proposal over the weekend as such issues could not be talked about in a few minutes.
While TML had a lease over 645 acres of land, the rest was for ancillary industries and other purposes. Earlier in the day, the TML counsel questioned the legality of the Singur Act submitting before Justice Pal that it does not provide for compensation to the person from whom the land is being taken.
Claiming that it was in conflict with the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, Samaraditya Pal submitted while there is commitment in the central law regarding the amount of compensation, interest and solatium, the state Act does not provide for compensation directly nor does it lay down principles for compensation to land-losers.
He further submitted that the LA Act of 1894 says once possession is taken, the state cannot return the land to original owners even if the public purpose, for which the land
has been acquired, fails,
The state Act provides for return of land to unwilling owners, he submitted, claiming that this provision was directly in conflict with the LA Act.
He stated the LA Act of 1894 was an existing central law and as the new state Act was in conflict, the Singur Act should be declared illegal and void.
Advocate General Anindya Mitra contended the petition of TML was not maintainable as no prima facie case has been made out in favour of their claims.
He said the petitioner having come with a false case was not entitled to equitable relief.
Mitra submitted that as the TML had claimed in the petition, which it moved on June 22, that it apprehended the land would be taken away from them, the actual position was that the state already had taken possession on June 21. The Advocate General submitted that Tata Motors left in 2008 but held on to the Singur land, making it a case of state land being held for ‘ransom', saying if they get their quoted ransom, only then they would leave it.
He stated that while the allottees had paid premium for the land, Tata Motors had not paid any premium for the 645 acres of land leased out to it.
Mitra said though the TML counsel had accused a particular political party, which is now in power in West Bengal having won the elections with overwhelming majority, of creating law and order problems at the Singur site forcing it to leave, it has not made it a respondent in the case.
He further said while TML was the lessee, West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) was the lessor of the Singur land.
Stating that TML has not cited any problem with the lessor and accused a third party of creating disturbances, he said it had the option of treating the lease as void and hand back the land but it had not done so.
He stated the purpose for acquiring the land was employment generation but this did not happen as TML did not set up the Nano plant.
The matter was adjourned for the day and would be taken for hearing again on Monday. PTI