The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Gujarat High Court’s order directing the state government to retrieve 108 hectares of gauchar, or grazing, land near the Mundra port in Kutch district from an Adani Group company, reported PTI.

On Friday, the state government told the Gujarat High Court that it would take back the land and return it to villagers for grazing animals.

“Taking note of the affidavit of the additional chief secretary, department of revenue, state of Gujarat, we require the concerned authority/officers to complete the process of resumption [of retrieving the land] in accordance with law,” the High Court ordered on Friday.

The High Court then posted the matter for hearing on July 26.

On Wednesday, a Supreme Court bench of Justices BR Gavai and KV Viswanathan took note of the appeal by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited against the order.

The High Court’s order is required to be stayed in the interest of justice, the appeal said.

The land in question is part of about 231 hectares near the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone’s Mundra port that were handed over to the company in 2005. One hectare is equal to about 2.5 acres.

The additional chief secretary of the Gujarat Revenue Department told the High Court on Friday that 129 hectares of grazing land is set to be returned to the villagers.

The state government’s decision to restore the land as a community resource came after a 13-year legal battle by the residents of Navinal panchayat.

The villagers had reportedly discovered in 2010 that their lands had been handed over to the Adani Group. Their plea contended that the allotment was illegal and had severely shrunk the area available to them for grazing cattle.

The Supreme Court, in cases such as Jagpal Singh & Ors vs State Of Punjab & Ors (2011), has passed orders to protect communities’ rights over common-use lands.

In 2014, after the deputy collector had permitted the allotment of 387 hectares of grazing land for the villagers, the High Court dismissed their plea. When the land was not given to them, the villagers filed a contempt petition.

The Gujarat government eventually told the court that only 17 hectares of gauchar land were available in the area. It proposed to instead give the villagers a land parcel around seven km away from Navinal panchayat.

Accepting the villagers’ argument that it would not be possible for them to transport cattle over such a long distance, the court in April ordered the state government to come up with a solution.