labels: Economy - general, Industry - general
HC kicks Reliance Mumbai SEZ case upstairs to SC news
25 May 2009

The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a petition by Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai SEZ for speedy completion of the land acquisition process by the Raigad district administration.

The court directed the company to approach the Supreme Court where at least six petitions challenging both the Land Acquisition Act and the SEZ Act are currently pending.

The Ambani-promoted company had moved the high court asking it to direct the Raigad district administration to complete the acquisition of land before the 6 June deadline under the Land Acquisition Act.

It argued that the district authorities had not completed the process two years after the Maharashtra government allowed the company to set up a multi-product SEZ in the region.

On the other hand, advocate Sunil Dighe, on behalf of Maha Mumbai Shetkari Sangharsh Samitee, told the court that a PIL filed by it against the SEZ was transferred to SC at the instance of Mumbai SEZ a few months ago. There are also other cases related to the Mumbai SEZ pending before the apex court.

Since the Supreme Court was dealing with the issue, it would not be proper for the high court to hear Mumbai SEZ's petition, Dighe argued.

The PIL filed by farmers of Raigad district has also raised questions whether fertile land can be acquired for SEZ, he later said.

An affidavit filed by special land acquisition officer Shridhar Bodhe said that a PIL and four other private writ petitions, challenging acquisition of land, are pending before the Supreme Court. Consequently, the vacation bench of Justices Anand Nirgude and Rajesh Ketkar 'disposed of' the SEZ's petition and asked Reliance to approach Supreme Court.

'Disposed of' is a term which means the court made no comments on the merits of the case.

Under India's land acquisition laws, the company was required to complete the formalities for acquiring land for its Maha Mumbai SEZ within two years after the state issued a declaration of ''intention to acquire land'' on 6 June 2007.

The state is yet to make a final award that would complete the process, the HC was informed.

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HC kicks Reliance Mumbai SEZ case upstairs to SC