Process of acquiring land for Dharoi canal has been set aside. Gujarat High Court has issued notifications under sections 4(1) and 6(1) of the Land Acquisition Act in a petition filed by farmers challenging the state government’s land acquisition process.
A bench, comprising Justice VM Sahai and Justice AU Uraizee, allowed the farmers’ demand to quash the allegedly arbitrary procedure of acquiring land. So, the government has to start the process of acquiring land for Dharoi canal afresh.
The petition had challenged the notification dated March 29, 2012, issued under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, as well as the notification, dated May 23, 2013, issued under Section 6 of the same Act by the government for acquiring land owned by farmers of Ladol village in Vijapur taluka of Mehsana district to excavate the Dharoi canal.
Patel Ileshbhai Babubhai and some other farmers, through lawyer Kamlesh Kotai, said the government was planning to excavate the Dharoi Right Bank Canal at Ladol village and it had even conducted a survey of the agricultural land there.
During the survey, it was decided to dig a straight line canal. But, due to political influence and with a view to safeguarding people, whose lands were to be affected by the canal, the plan was changed and the authorities decided to dig the canal through farmlands owned by the petitioners.
In the affidavit-in-reply, Dhaval R Jani, deputy collector, land acquisition and rehabilitation, Dharoi Vatrak and other Project, Himmatnagar in Sabarkantha district, clearly stated that objections raised by the petitioners had not been heard under Section 5A of the Act.
The petitioners told the court that the collector was required to listen to the objections, before preparing a report on that basis and submitting that to the government. The government was required to apply its mind to the reasons for the objection in the order passed under Section 5A by the collector. And, only then, could the final decision to issue a notification under Section 6(1) of the Act be taken.