The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday sought an explanation from the West Bengal government why it took possession of the Nano small car factory land within hours of Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee announcing that the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, had come into effect.
Justice I.P. Mukerji said Mr. Chatterjee made the announcement that the Act was notified at 6.30 p.m. on July 21 and, according to the records of district authorities, the State was in possession of the land by 8.30 p.m.
He pointed out that according to the provisions of the Act, Tata Motors and all vendors “shall forthwith” restore possession of the land to the State government.
“Does forthwith mean a couple of hours? This is what calls for an explanation,” he told the State’s Advocate-General Anindya Mitra and Government Pleader Ashok Banerjee.
Justice Mukerji’s queries followed submissions made in court on Tuesday by Samaraditya Pal that the State had taken “wrongful and forcible possession” of the factory site and, in doing so, had acted with “undue haste.”
Mr. Mitra said that according to the provisions of the Act, the government was not required to serve notice to Tata Motors and that possession was to be restored to the District Magistrate “immediately.”
During the day, Mr. Pal pointed out that there was a contradiction between the affidavit filed by the Joint Secretary of the Land and Land Reforms Department and the orders issued on behalf of the District Magistrate of Hooghly. Hindu