The Times Of India, Jan 11 2014, Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday quashed a 2009 Haryana government notification acquiring 1,400 acres of land in eight villages around Gurgaon for developing sectors 58 to 63, in a judgment that deals a big blow to the Bhupinder Singh Hoodagovernment as well as the Millennium City’s realty sector.
A year after the notification, Haryana government had released around 95% of the acquired land to private builders and even granted licences to some for developing housing projects on the land.
The sectors are adjacent to prime residential areas on Golf Course Road and were to be the bedrock of the next phase of Gurgaon’s realty growth. The economic impact of the order is likely to be heavy as several builders had already made investments in the affected sectors. “Prices in the properties that were supposed to come up in this area could range between Rs 7,500 and Rs 12,500 per sq ft,” said Avinash Piplani of Aarambh Property Hypermart.
Villages whose lands were acquired are Nangli Umarpur, Tigra, Ulhawas, Kadarpur, Medawas, Badshahpur, Behrampur and Ghatta.
Justice Surya Kant ordered quashing of the notification following petitions filed by some residents of Badshahpur, who argued that their prime lands were acquired at throwaway prices under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act — which has a ‘public purpose’ clause — and later handed over to private developers.
Among builders who have large portions of land in the affected area are Ireo, Krrish Buildtech and Commander Realtors. Other developers in the area include M3M, Emaar MGF, Anant Raj and Nova.
A senior official of Haryana’s department of town and country planning said the order was a major setback for its plans to expand Gurgaon’s urbanscape. “Our efforts of the last three years have gone waste,” the official said, adding that DTCP was likely to initiate proceedings to return the land to villagers.
When contacted, Hargurpreet Singh, AGM (sales) of Ireo, said, “We are not aware of any such ruling yet and will respond when we get the news.”
Since September 2009, Ireo has launched at least two residential projects in the affected sectors — The Grand Arch (Sector 58) and IreoSkyon (Sector 60). It’s, however, not yet clear whether these projects are on land affected by Friday’s ruling.
Taking cognizance of the villagers’ petition in July 2013, a division bench of the high court had issued notices to the Haryana government seeking its reply. While issuing that notice, the bench had observed that prima facie the facts of the case pointed to abuse of power by the state government in the acquisition and release of land.
This is the second time in less than a month that land acquired by Haryana government has been set aside by the high court on grounds of arbitrariness in the state’s land acquisition process. On December 19, 2013, the court had quashed the acquisition of around 850 acres in various villages of Rohtak, the home district of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Villagers in the area welcomed the court order. “It has come as a big relief to my family and hundreds of other villagers in the area as the land was taken from us in a wrongful manner,” said Ved Kala Sharma, who along with her son Devdutt had filed the petition.
“I cannot express my happiness in words. I have a joint family and we had just two acres of land, but it was taken from us to benefit the developers” said Devdutt. He alleged that only 87 acres of the acquired land was yet to be released to private developers and demanded an inquiry into the case.
Devdutt said he and many other villagers had not taken any compensation from the developers.