The Supreme Court today issued notices to Reliance Gas Transportation and Infrastructure Ltd, and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on the appeals moved by more than 50 land owners of Surat, alleging that the Mukesh Ambani-led company had not paid them adequate compensation for acquisition. Their land will be used for laying pipelines to transport gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin to Gujarat.
The farmers have also asked the government to rehabilitate them adequately by allotting alternative plots. The order was passed by a bench headed by Justice B Sudershan Reddy. A few days ago, another bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam issued notice to the company on appeals challenging the constitutional validity of the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 1962. The appeals allege that the compensation provisions in the Act are arbitrary.
They allege that under Section 9 of the Act, no construction or agricultural activity is allowed on the land under which pipelines are laid as they may cause damage to the pipeline. Their appeals contend that “the difference between acquisition of the land and acquisition of the right to use the land is a statutory fiction created only with a view to intentionally reduce the compensation, which should be paid to the land owner”.