Bombay HC dismisses SEZ plea for speedy land acquisition at Raigad

The vacation bench of the Bombay High Court has dismissed the Mukesh Ambani-promoted Mumbai Special Economic Zone’s (SEZ) plea pertaining to the speedy completion of its project-related land acquisition process by the collector at Raigad. The company had contended that a delay in land acquisition further than June 6 would result in the lapse of the entire process under the Land Acquisition Act 1894.

Dismissing the plea on Friday, the HC asked the company to move the Supreme Court, where a number of other petitions related to the Mumbai SEZ are already pending.

The HC court order came after advocate Sunil Dighe – for the Maha Mumbai SEZ Sangharsh Samiti, an organization that is opposing the SEZ – informed the bench of Justices Anand Nirgude and Rajesh Ketkar that a PIL associated with the project was pending with the SC.

Opposing the petition by the company, Raigad’s land acquisition officer has said the collector had no authority to bypass the legal procedure regarding the acquisition of land. The officer said: “Any interim relief would jeopardize the long-drawn legal process and the petition should be dismissed.”

As per the government, the land acquisition process began June 2007, and despite 45 declarations made for land in question, no person had thus far come to the collector to confirm any agreement to the terms for the acquisition.