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THE WELFARE STATE VS SINGUR VERDICT
The invalidation of the expropriation of land in Singur by the State under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is one of the significant moments in the countries judicial history. The Supreme Court has ordered the land acquired for public purpose from the farmers for purported use by Tata Motors Limited to be returned to rightful owners. The colonial-era law now stands repealed by newly enacted Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. This judicial case has also raised valid concerns about the extent of power exercised by State in purportedly acquiring a land and the nature of “public purpose” permitting such acquisition. Land is also acquired by the State and transferred to corporations from latter s commercial use. The Art 19(1)(f) and Art 31 which guaranteed the citizens certain rights against state in acquiring and holding of land were diluted by the government to give them a wider latitude in achieving land reforms. Taking a suspicious view of the deal, the Supreme Court ruled that the appropriation of land by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in West Bengal in 2006 had acquired the land solely for the benefit of the corporation. The situation is getting worse with BJP government increasingly displaying a pro-corporate attitude and rolling back some of the rights and benefits offered by central laws to the land owners. LARR, though a progressive legislation, was never going to be a panacea for all the evils. But it is sobering to see the least advantaged sections bearing the greatest burden in relinquishing their right to own a land and the welfare state doing everything against their welfare.

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