New Delhi [India], June 4 (ANI): A plea filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday sought an early hearing of appeal challenging the Madras High Court's order, which quashed the land acquisition proceedings initiated by the Centre and the state government for Chennai-Salem Expressway project worth Rs 10,000 crore.
The petition requesting for urgent hearing of the case through video conference said the top court had posted the matter for hearing on January 28, 2020, however, the hearing could not take place due to judges sitting in Constitution Bench and thereafter, due to the COVID-19 being declared as global pandemic by the government and advising against mass congregation, the normal functioning of the courts were restrained.
In lieu of this difficulty, the matters have not been listed till date, stated the application of urgent hearing of Project Implementation Unit of the National Highways Authority of India filed in already pending appeal against the Madras High Court verdict.
On April 8, 2019 a division bench of the Madras High Court had quashed the land acquisition after holding that environmental clearance was mandatory since the project would have an adverse impact on the environment, including water bodies. This judgement was passed by the court on a batch of petitions filed by advocates, farmers and politicians.
The Rs 10,000 crore Chennai-Salem eight-lane greenfield expressway project proposed on a stretch of 277.300-km passes through agricultural as well as reserve forest land.
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 Authority is unable to continue the project as the Section 3A(1) notification, being a preliminary notification has been quashed by the High Court, which is wholly detrimental in the public interest and has resulted in a major setback in all the similar projects under the Bharatmala Pariyojana and other projects of construction of National Highways, said the application.
It stated that it was "wholly unwarranted for the High Court to have quashed the acquisition proceedings which was a well-thought policy decision, without disclosing the reasons for quashing of the 3A notifications."
"If the impugned judgment is not heard expeditiously and stayed, it will have major ramifications on the fate of other similar projects, as it will have cascading effect resulting in a multiplicity of litigation, and will tend to open gates of judicial review in all such matters involving policy decisions, besides causing a major setback for all similar projects under the Bharatmala scheme," the application said.
It further added that if the case not heard urgently the end result would thus cause an adverse impact not only on the economic development on pan India basis but will also be detrimental to the public interest. (ANI)