TATA Motors vs TMC led Govt. of West Bengal

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by pmaitra, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    TATA Motors vs TMC led Govt. of West Bengal







    Discuss the debate and the legalities. Emotions are welcome in the hope that it will not drive interpretation of the law from in-letter to in-spirit.

    For law buffs, the following post is going to be an excellent read:
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Sit back and savour a class act

    Sit back and savour a class act

    SAMBIT SAHA AND TAPAS GHOSH
    The Telegraph India


    Calcutta, June 23: Forget the half-closed door, forget the steady stream of visitors, forget the incessant murmurs and forget the occasional flashes of temper.

    The best class in Bengal in a long time is in session now in the courtroom of Justice Saumitra Pal, arraying two of the best legal minds in the state against each other.

    Anindya Mitra and Samaraditya Pal are not just two of the best-known barristers in Calcutta, they are also friends outside the court and veterans of many a battle. Sometimes against each other, as in the current Singur case, and sometimes on the same side, as in a steel company’s coal case in which they appeared against the then government.

    Both are experts in money suits and company law.

    In the Singur land case, the senior counsel for the Tatas must give his best shot against Mitra who will be expected to dip deep into his formidable arsenal to defend the government as its advocate-general.

    Not for nothing did the second day of the hearing see many law students among the spectators soaking up the courtroom session that often became a lesson in jurisprudence.

    In the first two days, the courtroom witnessed more of barrister Pal — since he had moved the writ petition — and flashes of Mitra. The two days of hair-splitting and incisive arguments have already established a fine tradition of debate rarely seen in legal circles in the city in recent times.

    If barrister Pal drew a distinction between the permanence of the State and the transitory nature of governments on the first day to contend that the agreement with Tata Motors still stands, today was the turn for the word “forthwith” in the new law the government has notified.

    Almost 30 minutes were spent dissecting the word and explaining its implications.

    “Section 3 of Clause 4 of the act stated that Tata Motors Ltd and all vendors shall ‘forthwith’ restore vacant possession of the land kept in their possession in favour of the district magistrate, Hooghly. The word ‘forthwith’ is very confusing. What exactly does the government mean by the word ‘forthwith’?” barrister Pal asked the judge, glancing over the top of his spectacles.

    Pal, who habitually chews gum to soothe his throat, contended that the word should mean “within a reasonable time” and not “immediately” as the government appears to have presumed. Such a presumption would amount to violation of the Constitution, he felt.

    “The government gave no time to Tata Motors and seized its properties kept in the Singur factory (almost immediately after the act was notified in the gazette). This incident is against the provisions laid down in Article 14 (equality before the law),” he said.

    Later, a senior lawyer explained that Article 14 of the Constitution states that the State shall not deny any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

    “What barrister Pal must have meant was that by arbitrarily taking away the land, the Tatas were not being given equal protection of the laws of the country,” the lawyer said. “For instance, if a state makes a law for only one person and arbitrarily snatches away his car, he is not being given the right to protect himself by first approaching a court to prevent this from happening.”

    Barrister Pal today added that if the provisions of any law went against that of the Constitution, the legislation could be invalidated.

    Although Mitra is yet to launch his full-fledged defence, the courtroom had a glimpse of what was to come. Speaking at the end of today’s hearing, Mitra, in a tone louder than his usual style, challenged Pal’s claim.

    “What Pal is saying is not mentioned in his petition. In the petition, he has expressed the apprehension that Tata Motors would be dispossessed whereas in the oral submission he said it has already been dispossessed,” Mitra said.

    The distinction gave the courtroom its moment of mirth.

    Justice Pal enquired: “You mean to say Tata is in possession? The question evoked laughter in the courtroom.

    Justice Pal also showed his gentle but stern side when Kalyan Bandopadhyay, Trinamul MP and the lawyer assisting Mitra, objected to barrister Pal’s reference to a statement attributed to the chief minister yesterday.

    During the submission, barrister Pal had said: “Yesterday, the CM said the Singur land belonged to her government and her government will decide what will be done there. She should not make such comments when the issue is pending before the court for disposal,” Samaraditya Pal said.

    Bandopadhyay then stood up and said: “The allegation that Pal was making was not mentioned in his petition. So the court should not hear the allegation.”

    Justice Pal asked barrister Pal to sit down and then told Bandopadhyay: “I will pass the judgment. During the passing of the judgment, I will consider what is written in the petition and what is not. So you need not worry. Please don't interrupt and let Pal speak.”

    Advocate-general Mitra also tried to pick holes in Pal’s interpretation of the word “forthwith”. “Pal is trying to convince the court that the government did not give his client time to vacate the spot and seized its property soon after the publication of the gazette notification. But that is not true. Gazette notification about the law was made on June 20 and the Hooghly district magistrate issued the notice of possession to the company on June 21.”

    Like in any delectable courtroom battle, repartees were also not on short supply. When Samaraditya Pal claimed that the media had information that “looting and pilfering” were going on in Singur, Mitra said: “So, the media is encouraging you to fight against us.”

    Samaraditya Pal replied: “You are also being encouraged by the media.”

    On one occasion, barrister Pal raised an objection and said Mitra should not intervene during his argument. “A running commentary is going on from this side,” Samaraditya Pal said, pointing towards Mitra. “I am feeling disturbed.”

    Mitra, along with Kalyan Bandyopadhyay, shot back: “So he (Pal) will decide what we will do and what we will say.”

    However, during the recess, the lawyers on both sides were seen engaged in friendly banter.

    Source: Sit back and savour a class act

     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Land Acquisition is a Central Law.

    Therefore, one wonders if a State Act can supersede the Central Act.

    An interesting case to watch for those who are keen on Company Affairs.
     
    pmaitra likes this.
  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Burdens of power

    Burdens of power

    The Indian Express
    Tags : editorial, indian express
    Posted: Fri Jun 24 2011, 00:21 hrs


    The agitation led by the Trinamool Congress against the Tata Motors plant at Singur was a landmark in several ways. It demonstrated that the Left’s control of the Bengal countryside was cracking; it showed that Bengal politics would find it particularly difficult to break out of its old gherao-and-dharna mode; and it revealed to outside investors, crucial for the growth of new jobs in an unemployment-riddled state, that something major had to change before West Bengal would be a worthy investment.

    It is to be hoped that the mandate that swept the Trinamool-Congress combine to power is precisely that major change, and therefore signalling is important. Many of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s initial steps have been positive — for instance, she suggested that the Tatas return to Singur and set up a plant on 600 acres of land. Yet that initial promise seems to have foundered somewhat. The confrontationist atmosphere at the site after the passage of the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act and the Tatas’s subsequent decision to challenge it in court will test Banerjee’s transition from an oppositional leader to a mature administrator. Singur brought Banerjee to power; how she settles it now she is CM will be closely watched. The methods used by an opposition leader — morchas and michils — should not be those of the democratically elected chief minister, who should work through policy and compromise, abandoning the sort of ugliness that marked the Left’s rule.

    Moving on was never going to be painless. There are complex political trade-offs to be made; tens of thousands in Singur gave up their land, and they will resist any deal that, in their opinion, is unfair. There are constitutional hurdles, too. The new government must address these not as an obstructive opposition party but as a party of government. It ill behoves the ruling party to be its own main obstruction. The agitational politics that brought them to power should no longer be their preferred method of getting things done; after all, the reins, and burdens, of power are now theirs. The atmospherics matter, and mobilisation of Trinamool workers on the streets of Singur is absolutely the wrong signal.

    Source: Burdens of power - Indian Express

     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  6. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Great to see you after a long time Ray Sir. I would like to see this thread heat up. :)

    I would also hope Mr. Sayare will comment since he is an expert in this area.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I was always here, lurking.

    Waiting for some interesting threads.

    Now, that it is 'warming' up to issues that I understand to some extent, I am posting.
     
  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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  9. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Tatas, Bengal look for 'workable solution'

    Tatas, Bengal look for 'workable solution'

    [​IMG]

    BS Reporter / Kolkata June 25, 2011, 0:23 IST

    Even as Tata Motors is ready to vacate the Singur land if compensated, both parties may work out a formula over the weekend.

    Tata Motors and the West Bengal government are likely to come up with a “workable solution” over the weekend before the hearing on the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011, resumes at the Calcutta High Court on Monday.

    Though it was not clear what it might be, Tata Motors counsel Samaraditya Pal requested the Advocate General on Friday to agree to a status quo on distribution of land, in the light of media reports.
    Pal was referring to statements made by West Bengal commerce and industry minister Partha Chatterjee on Thursday that the process of returning land to unwilling farmers was underway. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had also indicated, after Tata Motors moved court, that the land was with the state government.

    Advocate General Anindya Mitra, however, refused to respond immediately and reserved his comments for Monday.

    Siddhartha Mitra, also a Tata Motors counsel, said if anything worked out, which would be agreeable to both parties, steps could be taken in that direction. He said there were proposals from both sides.

    Tata Motors had written to the Left government it would vacate the land if compensated. The company invested Rs 1,800 crore in developing and leveling the land, apart from the plant and machinery. Though, a lot of the infrastructure was shifted when the project was relocated to Sanand in Gujarat, building and sheds worth Rs 440 crore remained at Singur. The company said it was spending Rs 1 crore a month to maintain it.

    One of the main points of argument of the Tatas' was to maintain status quo, since the company was entitled to compensation under to the Singur Act, which revoked the lease agreement between the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), on grounds of “non-commissioning and abandoning” of the project. In October 2008, the company pulled out the Nano project after a violent protest against land acquisition spearheaded by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

    The Advocate General said the agitation was led by a third party and not WBIDC or the state government. “Why couldn’t the company restart the project after 30-40 days,” he asked. Mitra said the vendors and Tata Motors should be treated separately. Tata Motors was a lessee, while vendors were allottees.

    Earlier in the court, Pal argued that the Singur Act was repugnant to the extent it was in conflict with some basic principles of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, which was used to acquire the entire land (997 acres) at Singur for the company and its 54 vendors. There was no provision of returning the land under the Act to the erstwhile land losers.

    “Once possession has been taken for public purpose, if that fails the land cannot be returned to owners. The state has to go for some other public purpose or auction,” Pal said. Whereas, the purpose of the Singur Act was to vest the land with the state government for the purpose of returning the land to the “unwilling” owners who have not accepted any compensation.

    This hearing would continue on Monday.

    Source: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/tatas-bengal-look-for-workable-solution/440383/
     
  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Maoists threaten Tatas on Singur

    Maoists threaten Tatas on Singur

    Jun 25, 2011, 09.27pm IST | Times of India

    KOLKATA: Maoists on Saturday threatened the Tatas to withdraw the Singur case from the Calcutta High Court or else they would go for an indefinite economic blockade in all their installations including Tata Steel Plant at Jamshedpur.

    "If the Tatas try to grab land and paralyse the economic life of the people of Singur, then we will also think of indefinite economic blockade in all the factories of the Tatas, including the Tata Steel Plant at Jamshedpur," CPI(Maoist) state committee member and spokesperson Bikram said in a press release here.

    Criticising the Mamata Banerjee government, Bikram said it was wrong to divide the farmers in the name of willing and unwilling because nobody gave their land willignly.

    "We demand that the entire 1000 acres of land be returned to the farmers," the statement said.

    Source: Maoists threaten Tatas on Singur - The Times of India
     

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