The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and the Goa government for cancelling land allotment for seven special economic zones to firms, including realty player K Raheja group, and directed them to maintain the status quo.
A bench comprising Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Mr Justice Deepak Verma issued notices to the central and Goa governments as well as the Goa Industrial Development Corporation, asking them to maintain status quo.
The apex court’s direction follows a batch of petitions filed by the Raheja group and other companies challenging the order of the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court. It had, last November, upheld the decision of the government to cancel the land allotment.
The High Court had said that allotments were arbitrarily done by the state government, “in undue haste and without proper scrutiny of the applications”.
It further asked the state government to consider the land allotted to the developers afresh for any other purpose other than of setting the SEZs.
The promoters, who have approached the apex court are K Raheja & Corporation, Peninsula Pharma Research Centre, Planetview Mercantile Co, Inox Mercantile Company and Paradigm Logistics & Distribution.
Goa had allotted nearly 32 lakh sq metres of GIDC land to these companies for setting up SEZ, which was also notified by the central government.
The Raheja group has submitted that “there is no finding at all nor any discussion regarding any illegality in the applications made by it and Paradigm for allotment of land”.
The companies have submitted that by cancelling the SEZs, which was notified by the Centre, the Goa government negated a central law, while reversing a policy adopted and followed earlier by the state government.
They questioned Goa’s act of negating a central law, the SEZ Act, on the basis of its own law, GIDC Act.
They said they have already invested in their projects.
Raheja group has submitted that it has already spent Rs 190 crore for setting up of multi-product and service park.
Besides, they submitted that the state government has done “purported reversal of policy (Goa SEZ policy) without the full cabinet decision” and the directions for cancelling the SEZ were “wholly illegal and ultra vires”.
The promoters further submitted that the petitions on which the High Court had upheld the Goa government’s decision to cancel the SEZ land, “were filed purportedly by a section of persons” requesting to take back land and give them to the original owners from whom it was acquired by GIDC.