SC stays Gujarat HC order on taking back land given to Adani Group firm near Mundra port

The residents of Navinal village of Kutch district had moved a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the high court against a decision to allot 231 acres of 'gauchar' land to the Adani firm.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Gujarat High Court order asking the state government to complete the process of taking back nearly 108 hectares of grazing land given to an Adani Group entity near the Mundra port in 2005.

A bench of justices B R Gavai and K V Viswanathan took note of the appeal of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ) that the impugned order is required to be stayed in the interest of justice.

"Issue notice. Stay of impugned order," the bench said.

On July 5, the state government had informed the high court that it will take back nearly 108 hectares of 'gauchar' (grazing) land which was given to an Adani Group entity in 2005.

"Taking note of the affidavit of the Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Revenue, State of Gujarat, we require the concerned authority/officers to complete the process of resumption in accordance with law," the high court had ordered and posted the matter for July 26.

The residents of Navinal village of Kutch district had moved a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the high court against a decision to allot 231 acres of 'gauchar' land to the Adani firm.

Though the state revenue department had made the allotment in 2005, the villagers came to know about it in 2010 when APSEZ started fencing the 'gauchar' land it had got.

According to the local residents, the village was left with just 45 acres of grazing land following allotment of 231 out of 276 acres of such land to APSEZ.

They had also contended that the move was illegal since the village was already facing shortage of grazing land.

Moreover, they claimed the land was a community resource.

In 2014, the high court had disposed of the PIL after the state government said in its affidavit that the deputy collector had passed an order granting additional 387 hectares of government land for the purpose of grazing.

However, when it did not happen, a contempt petition was filed in the high court.

In 2015, the state government filed a review petition before the high court contending that the available land for allocation to the panchayat is only 17 hectares.

The state government then proposed to allocate the remaining land, nearly seven kilometres away, which was not acceptable to villagers who said it was not possible for cattle to travel such a long distance.

In April 2024, a division bench had directed the Additional Chief Secretary of the Revenue Department to come up with a solution.

On July 5, the Additional Chief Secretary, 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 allotted 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.

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