HC Sets Aside Land Allotment For SEZs In Goa

In a major blow to special economic zone (SEZ) developers, the high court of Bombay at Goa on Friday held that Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) had allotted over 30 lakh sq m of land to promoters illegally and sans proper scrutiny. Upholding the state government’s decision to withdraw the SEZ policy in public interest, a division bench comprising justices A S Oka and F M Reis said, “The allotment of lands to the companies has been made in undue haste without proper scrutiny of their applications. The allotment has been made arbitrarily. Procedure adopted in the allotment is not fair and transparent. The allotments made by GIDC do not stand the test of reasonableness.” The court, in its 195-page judgment, observed that the allotment of the public properties vested in GIDC can only be made in a fair and transparent manner and that too in public interest. It further said that such huge lands which are public properties were allotted for the asking to companies in a manner not known to law. The allotment of lands is illegal being arbitrary and unreasonable.

The state government had, on June 15, 2009, withdrawn the state SEZ policy following a cabinet decision. Subsequently, GIDC had issued notices to the SEZ promoters seeking to take back the allotted land, following which the promoters had approached the high court. In the same case PILs had also been filed by villagers of Keri, Sancoale and Verna, challenging GIDC’s decision to allot land in their respective villages on lease agreements to the SEZ promoters. The villagers complained that the land was allotted fraudulently.

The court further held that as far as three notified SEZs are concerned, the stand of the Central government is that the Goa government should negotiate with the developers. It also said that the notifications have been issued on the basis of allotment of lands by GIDC. As the allotments are held to be illegal, notifications cannot be acted upon now.

While granting some relief, the court dismissed petitions filed by three notified SEZs—Meditab Specialities Pvt Ltd, Peninsula Pharma Research Centre Pvt Ltd and K Raheja Corporation Pvt Ltd — and four other SEZ promoters — Paradigm Logistic and Distribution Private Ltd, Planetview Mercantile Company Pvt Ltd, Inox Mercantile Company Pvt Ltd and Maxgrow Finlease Pvt Ltd.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/HC-sets-aside-land-allotment-for-SEZs/articleshow/6998784.cms

Comments are closed.