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Cash for land is just not done: SC

To the rescue: The court had earlier dismissed applications by the M.P. government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority to modify the apex court judgments upholding land rights for sons of affected farmers. — File Photo   | Photo Credit: VIVEK BENDRE

Agreeing to hear the plight of the landless victims of the Sardar Sarovar Project in detail, the Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that giving cash instead of land to farmers who lost their fertile lands to the mega dam project is “tentatively” not acceptable.

“We will tell you now itself. You giving cash instead of land is tentatively not acceptable. That’s just not done,” Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, who headed a three-judge Bench, told the Narmada authorities and counsel for Madhya Pradesh.

Appearing for the Narmada Bachao Andolan, advocate Sanjay Parikh asked why poor people whose lands have been taken away from them should continue to suffer. “It is land for land,” Mr. Parikh said.

“They have worked their lands all their lives,” Chief Justice Khehar said during the hearing.

Mr. Parikh said the farmers are left with neither land nor livelihood despite there being binding orders from the Supreme Court upholding their right to land.

Hearing adjourned

Chief Justice Khehar, who wanted to hear the petitions on Tuesday, agreed to adjourn the hearing to January 19 for a detailed hearing after the government authorities sought time for preparation.

Earlier, the apex court had dismissed an application by the Madhya Pradesh government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority for a modification of the apex court judgments of 2000 and 2005 upholding land rights for adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Project-affected farmers.

The apex court’s Social Justice Bench led by Justice Madan B. Lokur had said the State’s application suffered from gross delay, after having been filed several years since the Supreme Court gave its verdict on the issue.

Mr. Parikh had submitted that as per the Narmada Tribunal Award and the Supreme Court verdicts, all adult sons were indisputably entitled to five acres of cultivable and irrigable land, and any discrimination would lead to the violation of the constitutional rights of the oustees.

Terming the application as “not to be good governance,” the Bench had dismissed it.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 5:01:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Cash-for-land-is-just-not-done-SC/article17019352.ece

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