The Bombay High Court on Thursday rejected a plea challenging land acquisition for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project and described it as a project of national importance, Bar and Bench reported.
Manufacturing firm Godrej & Boyce had filed a petition challenging the acquisition of its land in Mumbai’s Vikhroli area by the Maharashtra government and the National High Speed Rail Corporation.
The deputy collector of the Mumbai Suburban district had awarded compensation of Rs 264 crore to the company for the acquisition of 9.69 acres of land, Live Law reported.
In its petition, Godrej & Boyce had claimed that the acquisition proceedings initiated in 2019 had lapsed the next year and thus, the awarding of the compensation was void ab initio, or invalid from the beginning. The company claimed that the compensation awarded to it was much lesser than the initial offering of Rs 572 crore.
A High Court bench comprising Justices RD Dhanuka and MM Sathaye, however, said that there was no illegality in the compensation. “Project is of national importance and public interest,” the court said. “No interference is required.”
The bench also said that the bullet train project would be the first of its kind and that collective interest would prevail over private interest.
Senior advocate Navroz Seervai, representing Godrej & Boyce, urged the court to stay its order for two weeks so that the company could file an appeal in the Supreme Court. However, the High Court did not accept the request.
Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, representing the state government, said that land acquisition for the project was complete except for the land in Vikhroli. He also claimed that the state government has filed a suit claiming title over the land and said that if the suit is decided in the government’s favour, it will seek repayment of the compensation.
The company, however, disputed the claim about the ongoing suit.
The bullet train corridor from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is proposed to be an elevated 508-kilometre high-speed rail line. The project is expected to cost Rs 1.1 lakh crore, of which the Japan International Cooperation Agency will fund Rs 88,000 crore.