NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal challenging the Madras High Court order which quashed land acquisition proceedings initiated by the Centre and the State government for an expressway project.
A bench headed by Justice MR Shah slated the detailed hearing on June 3 after a counsel of the State government sought stay on the HC verdict.
On April 8, a division bench of the Madras High Court had quashed land acquisition after holding that environmental clearance was mandatory since the project would have an adverse impact on the environment, including water bodies.
The Rs 10,000-crore Chennai-Salem eight-lane greenfield expressway project proposed on a stretch of 277-km passes through agricultural as well as reserve forest lands.
The project is part of the Centre’s ambitious ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana - I’, which involves laying of around 35,000 km of national highways before 2022.
The High Court had refused to accept arguments put forth by the centre, Tamil Nadu government and the NHAI in which they contended that environmental clearance was not needed at the time of what they termed securing the land for highway construction and it was required only at the time of the actual laying of the road.
The court, however, quashed the notification issued under Section 3A of the NHAI Act, 1956, for acquiring land and made it clear that prior environmental clearance under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986, was necessary.