News Brief

Big Relief For Adani Group As SC Stays Gujarat HC Order On Land Recovery From APSEZ—Here's All You Need To Know

Kuldeep Negi

Jul 10, 2024, 03:10 PM | Updated 03:10 PM IST

Adani Group. (Representative image).
Adani Group. (Representative image).

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (10 July) stayed a Gujarat High Court order allowing the state government to reclaim 108 hectares of grazing land previously allocated to the Adani Group.

This land, situated near Mundra port in the Kachchh district, has been a point of contention for years.

A bench of justices B R Gavai and K V Viswanathan passed the order in an appeal filed by Adani ports against the recovery of around 108 hectares of land by Gujarat government, Moneycontrol reported.

The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Gujarat government on the issue.

The Gujarat government had on Friday (5 July) informed the High Court that it will take back nearly 108 hectares of ‘gauchar’ (grazing) land which was given to one of the Gautam Adani-led conglomerate's entity in 2005 near Mundra port in the state’s Kutch district.

The decision by the state government to reclaim land allotted to Adani Group entity came 13 years after residents of Navinal village there moved the High Court through a Public Interest Litigation against a decision to allot 231 acres of gauchar land to Adani Ports and SEZ (APSEZ) Ltd.

The allocation was made by the state revenue department in 2005, but villagers only became aware of it in 2010 when APSEZ began fencing the area.

Residents had challenged the allotment of 231 acres of gauchar land to Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd, claiming the move left the village with only 45 acres of grazing land, which was insufficient and violated communal land rights.

The PIL was initially disposed of in 2014 after the government assured the High Court it would grant an additional 387 hectares of grazing land.

When this did not materialise, the villagers filed a contempt petition.

In 2015, the state government filed a review petition before the High Court, contending that only 17 hectares were available for allocation, proposing allocation of remaining land 7 kilometres away, which villagers rejected, saying it was not possible for cattle to travel such a long distance.

In April 2024, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Pranav Trivedi directed the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of the Revenue Department to come up with a solution.

On Friday, the ACS, through an affidavit, informed the bench that the state government has decided to take back nearly 108 hectares or 266 acres of gauchar land, which was earlier allocated to APSEZ.

The revenue department informed the court that the state government will “replenish” 129 hectares of land as gauchar and give it back to the village, for which it will use some of its own land and the 108 hectares being taken back from the Adani group firm.

The HC bench expressed satisfaction and directed the state government to implement this resolution.

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Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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