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Hearing on Tata's petition in High Court continues

Staff Reporter

KOLKATA: The hearing on the writ petition filed by the Tata Motors, challenging the constitutional validity of the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011, continued for the sixth day in the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday.

According to a statement issued by Tata Motors, the “interim arrangement” given by the Supreme Court will remain “until further orders being passed by the High Court.” The Calcutta High Court has also been urged to dispose of the matter as early as possible.

 Siddhartha Mitra, counsel for Tata Motors replied to the arguments given by Advocate General Anindya Mitra and counsel for the State government before Justice Soumitra Pal during the day.

The matter was adjourned for the day and will be heard again on Thursday.

Countering the State government's claim that the petition cannot be maintained as Tata Motors are not in possession of the land, which has not been mentioned in the writ petition filed by them on June 22, Mr. Siddhartha Mitra said that the Company was racing against time and had filed the petition, taking into account events that had occurred till 8:30 p.m. on June 21.

Stating that the suppression of facts was caused by restraints of time and the Tata Motors had filed an affidavit later, Mr. Mitra said, “I have suppressed something that would have gone in my favour.”

 He also denied that the Tata Motors had abandoned the premises of the factory, emphasising that the company had paid rent until March 2012.

 “The acquisition was made for a private company for a public purpose. The land was given to me under a lease……The rent was paid until March 2012. If I had abandoned the property, I would not pay the rent,” he said.

  Mr. Mitra also pointed out that the West Bengal government could have terminated the lease on account of non-use of the land, but they have not done so and accepted rent until 2012.

“A property of mine has been confiscated and expropriated by a piece of legislation, which I say is unconstitutional,” Mr. Mitra told the court, adding that the test for the validity of the Act will not be whether there was an electoral promise made, but whether the Legislature was empowered to pass such a legislation.

He also countered the State's argument that it was the Bill and not the Act that had been challenged in the petition by stating that the Bill had been passed by the Assembly, received the consent of the Governor and being notified by the State government.  The legislative process was not being interfered with, he asserted.

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