Bombay HC gives green light to Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project
The Bombay High Court dismissed a plea on Thursday filed by Godrej & Boyce company opposing the acquisition proceedings initiated by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) and the Maharashtra government for the bullet train project in Vikhroli. The HC stated that the bullet train project holds "national importance" and "public interest." "There are no irregularities in this acquisition," the court added.
Why does this story matter?
- Since 2019, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited and the Maharashtra government have been involved in a legal spat over acquiring the company-owned land in Mumbai's Vikhroli for the bullet train project.
- The state government and the NHSRCL had alleged that the company was hindering the entire project.
- Notably, an entry point to the underground tunnel falls on Godrej land in Vikhroli.
It is a one-of-its-kind project: Bombay HC
A division bench of Justices M M Sathaye and R D Dhanuka referred to it as a one-of-its-kind project and claimed that the collective public interest would prevail over any private interests. The bench also stated that the state could take the initial acquisition proceedings to their logical conclusion under the Fair Compensation Act, reported Times of India.
Know about the appeal from Godrej & Boyce
The company Godrej & Boyce had filed a plea challenging an order passed by the state government on September 15, 2022, that awarded compensation to it for land acquired for the project. As per reports, the company called the land acquisition procedure initiated by the Maharashtra government "unlawful" and alleged that "multiple and patent illegalities" existed.
Found no illegality in the compensation: Bombay HC
However, the bench claimed that it found no illegality in the proceedings or compensation initiated by the administration. "The project is of national importance and in public interest. We have not found any illegality in the compensation. It is the paramount collective interest that would prevail and not private interest," said the Bombay HC bench.
HC rejects appeal to stay its order for two weeks
Appearing for the company, senior counsel Navroz Seervai urged the HC to stay its order for two weeks so that they could appeal to the Supreme Court. However, the bench rejected to stay its order. "The compensation derived at the stage of private negotiation cannot be considered as final and binding since the said private negotiation had admittedly failed," it said.
Maharastra government informed HC it already deposited the compensation fee
Furthermore, the HC rejected to accept the company's contention that the compensation amount was originally Rs. 572 crore but was changed to Rs. 264 crore after the final award was passed. Meanwhile, the state government also informed the HC that it had already deposited the Rs. 264 crore compensation fee back in October last year.
508.17km long rail track between Ahmedabad and Mumbai
Approximately 21 kilometers of the total 508.17 kilometers of rail track between Ahmedabad and Mumbai will be underground. Notably, one of the entrance points for this underground tunnel falls under the land in Vikhroli and is owned by Godrej & Boyce.
Know about the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor (MAHSR) plans to have a high speed rail line connecting the country's economic hub with Ahmedabad. Upon completion, this will become the first high-speed rail line in India. Initially expected to be done by December 2023, the completion date is yet to be determined amid delays in acquiring land in Maharashtra.