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  India   All India  23 Aug 2019  Multiplicity of laws delaying infra plans: Supreme Court

Multiplicity of laws delaying infra plans: Supreme Court

THE ASIAN AGE. | PARMOD KUMAR
Published : Aug 23, 2019, 3:42 am IST
Updated : Aug 23, 2019, 3:42 am IST

Besides Justice Ramana, Justice M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Ajay Rastogi were hearing the matter.

The Supreme Court of India. (Photo: PTI)
 The Supreme Court of India. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the multiplicity of laws relating to land acquisition and environmental clearance was creating confusion in the execution of infrastructure projects including express highway projects.

“Confusion was due to many statutes — the National Highway Authority Act, 1988, The National Highway Act, 1956 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986,” said Justice N.V. Ramana in the course of the hearing of a plea by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) challenging the Madras high court order quashing the notification for the acquisition of lands for the Chennai-Salem Express Highway.

 

Besides Justice Ramana, Justice M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Ajay Rastogi were hearing the matter.

At the outset of the hearing, Justice Shantanagoudar asked why NHAI was acquiring land without the project even being notified or an environment clearance being there. “You acquire lands from farmers without an environmental clearance being given by the ministry of environment and forest, leaving the farmers with nothing to do,” he said.

Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta who appeared for the NHAI, defended the acquisition, saying, “When we go to the MoEF for an environmental clearance, there has to be something on the paper backing the project.” He said that the lands would be acquired but the possession would not be taken.

 

Mr Mehta said that the Chennai-Salem Express Highway project was a part of the Bharat Mala Pariyojana and its stalling would have wide repercussions on other projects proposed under the project in the entire country.

Lawyers appearing for affected farmers and the PIL petitioners, however, disagreed, and told the court that initially land were acquired for the expansion of Chennai-Madurai highway but the consultant engaged for the project, instead, submitted a report for the Chennai-Salem project, which was an entirely new project involving different proceedings.

Tags: supreme court, national highway act