The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, in which it had ordered the demolition of the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) launched by the Haryana government at Silokhera village in Gurgaon.

Holding it to be “illegal” and “abuse of power of acquisition to extend benefits to private companies” by “fraudulently acquiring land in the garb of public interest”, the high court, in February, had set aside “illegal” release of a valuable piece of land in Gurgaon to private companies by the Haryana government. A Division Bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam of the Supreme Court put a stay on the order.

The high court had also slapped a penalty of Rs 2 lakh on the government, M/s East India Hotels Limited, M/s DLF Limited and Chandra Jyoti State Developers Private Limited, Delhi. It had ruled that the penalty shall be borne by the Haryana government and aforesaid three companies. The court had given a six-month deadline to the private companies to demolish the illegal construction, failing which, the Haryana government will have to demolish the same.

The HC, while allowing a petition filed by Harikishan — a resident of Gurgaon — had ruled: “Facts alone are enough to establish the nexus of M/s DLF Limited with the government to grab the property in question. In fact, the subsequent acts of granting necessary approvals for setting up of a SEZ was an attempt to cover the whole malafide action of Haryana and the facts noticed above indicates only to one conclusion, ie, there was a nexus between the government and the two, including DLF, to grab the land in question and everything was facilitated to give the same a legal cover. The power of acquisition has been used for a collateral purpose of extending benefit to the three private companies as against a public purpose.”

In its special leave petition, M/s Chandra Jyoti Developers Private Limited, Delhi had contended that the HC had heard the matter with “a preconceived notion”.

The Bench had ruled: “There was neither any illegality nor any irregularity in the sale of the land to the petitioner. The high court failed to appreciate that if a decision taken by the executive is within the power and domain of the executive and pursuant to its detailed policy, then in judicial review, the high court should only ensure that the process by which the decision is taken is not discriminatory or arbitrary.”

On January 30, 1989, the Haryana government had issued a notification seeking to acquire 210.38 acres in Silokhera village and 5.20 acres in Sukhrali village for a public purpose —utilisation thereof for residential and commercial area for Sector 30 in Gurgaon.

However, notification issued under Section 6 of the Act was issued only for an area of 169 acres in Silokhera village and 2.13 acres in Sukhrali village.

With a notification dated September 19, 1995, Haryana had released 30 acres of land in favour of East India Hotels, which demanded the land on the ground that it (company) intends to construct a hospital.

The state had tried to justify its action by stating that the released land has been utilised in accordance with the approved plan.

The high court had asked Haryana to recall such release and also to ascertain whether the release was for any extraneous consideration.

It has also asked the government to look how wrongful gain or loss can be readjusted.

SC stays demolition of SEZ in Gurgaon - Indian Express
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  • I am being told that this news is wrong ( some confusion, somewhere. This news was out, sometime in the afternoon ) .

    I think, if this is wrong, we should have some clarifications, soon .