The Supreme Court has directed the Madhya Pradesh government to allot land to the oustees affected by acquisition of land for the Omkareshwar dam in accordance with the provisions of the relief and rehabilitation policy.
A Bench of Justices J.M. Panchal, Deepak Verma and B.S. Chauhan made it clear that the State had an obligation to allot land to the oustees.
It was disposing of a batch of appeals filed by the State and the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Madhya Pradesh unit) against interim orders of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
However, while referring to the submissions made on behalf of the NBA that tenure holders had been dispossessed of their land, the Bench said, “It is evident from the inspection report that statements made by the said applicant/respondent in the court in this regard are factually incorrect and false. The court has been entertaining this petition under the bona fide belief that the NBA was espousing the grievance of inarticulate and illiterate poor farmers, with all sincerity and thus, would not make any misleading statement.”
However, the Bench said, “Our belief stands fully belied. Applicant/respondent made pleadings and advanced arguments without any basis only to secure unwarranted benefits to those tenure holders. In the instant case, it stands discredited totally in the eyes of this court. The court has been careful and cautious in this regard which has exposed the true picture. It becomes crystal clear that none of the tenure holders, so far as the land in dispute is concerned, has been evicted/dispossessed. All the tenure holders are enjoying the said land without any interference.
“The tall claims made by the respondents before the High Court were totally false. The High Court was not justified in entertaining their applications in this regard without verifying the factual aspects.
“In view of the above, we reach the inescapable conclusion that the NBA has not acted with a sense of responsibility and so far succeeded in securing favourable orders by misleading the court. Such conduct cannot be approved.”
However, expressing disappointment with the Supreme Court order on rehabilitation and resettlement of the Omkareshwar dam displaced people, the Madhya Pradesh unit of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) said it would file a review plea.