04 December, Ahmedabad,
Gujarat High Court has barred the state government from allotting surplus 15,590 acres of land acquired from rich farmers for distribution among landless farm labourers to industries.
Responding to a public interest petition filed by social activist and lawyer Jignesh Mevani, division bench of the High Court comprising acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice V M Pancholi asked the state governments explanation as to why the land acquired under the land ceiling act 15 years ago had not yet been given to the poor landless farm labourers.
The High Court also directed the state government to come up with a concrete plan by which it planned to give surplus land acquired from rich farmers to poor farm labourers belonging to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe. In its affidavit, the revenue department of the state government admitted that the 15, 590 acres of surplus land acquired by the government from rich farmers of Ahmedabad and Surendranagar district had not yet been distributed among poor landless farm labourers.
The High Court asked the government to give details about the amount and locations of the agriculture land acquired under the the land reform laws and directed it to create a mechanism for allocation of land to poor farmers. The petitioner advocate Mevani argued that land reform laws were not only meant to help the poor to sustain themselves but to impart social justice as well.
Mevani had filed the PIL in 2012 seeking High Courts directive to the state government for furnishing information on allotment of wasteland to the poor and landless farmers in Ahmedabad and Surendranagar districts.