New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the acquisition of agricultural land by the Uttar Pradesh government in Greater Noida, upholding a ruling of the Allahabad high court that said the land must be returned to the farmers.
The court also imposed a penalty of Rs 10 lakh on Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA), which had acquired 156 acres of land for industrial use, observing that “GNIDA allotted the land to builders in complete violation (of the purpose) for which the land was acquired.”
The apex court passed its order on a petition filed by GNIDA and real estate developers challenging the high court order.
The bench said it doesn’t need to interfere with the judgement of the division bench of the high court, which had held that the urgency provision applied by the authority for acquiring the land was “entirely a colourable exercise of power”.
The Allahabad high court had said in its ruling in May that the acquisition of land from farmers in Greater Noida was not permissible under the Land Acquisition Act as the government had changed the land use and allotted it to builders, including Supertech Ltd and Amrapali Group, that were constructing commercial and residential complexes.
Real estate companies that were planning residential developments on the land allotted by GNIDA are shifting homebuyers to their other projects.
“About 5 acres of our 20-acre residential project has been affected,” said Anuj Chaudhary, director, Panchsheel Buildtech. “We will be informing 124 buyers and will give them an option of shifting to other projects or take a refund.”
Noida-based Amrapali Group has already shifted around 2,500 homebuyers from its residential project, Smart City, part of which was coming up on the disputed land, to another project, Dream Valley, in Greater Noida at the same price.
The company has refunded about 200 homebuyers. “We will wait for a final outcome on the matter. And we will urge the authority to allocate us a new piece of land in the same area,” said Amrapali chairman and managing director Anil Sharma.
Other Noida-based firms such as Supertech, Ajnara India, Mahagun India and Gulshan Homz are also affected by the court order.