India’s Supreme Court prioritises human welfare over economic wealth

Following a lead to an article by Devinder Sharma [New Delhi] a search found several reports including one from Beta news: 

“New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Allahabad High Court order quashing the acquisition of over 156 hectares of land from farmers in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh and allotting it to builders.


The court also imposed Rs 10 lakh as cost on the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) and directed it to hand over the land to the villagers and farmers. 

“GNIDA allotted the land to builders in complete violation for which the land was acquired,” a bench comprising justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly said.” 

Sharma gives more detail than the accounts I saw; in particular ‘India Today’ focussed on the plight of the builder’s clients. 

He reports: 

“The Supreme Court lashed out at the growing incidence of violent land acquisitions: “This is a sinister campaign initiated by several state governments against the people. It is forcing them (land owners) to become slum dwellers or take to crime.” 

“It faulted state governments for using the ‘urgency’ or ‘emergency’ clause for private benefit. The nexus has grown thicker and wider – economists joining ranks with politicians, bureaucrats and builders.” 

And highlights the following observation: 

“The justification often advanced, by advocates of neo-liberal development paradigm, as historically followed, or newly emerging, is that unless development occurs, via rapid and vast exploitation of natural resources, the country would not be able to either compete on the global scale, nor accumulate the wealth necessary to tackle endemic and seemingly intractable problems of poverty, illiteracy, hunger and squalor.” 

On this Sharma comments: 

“That rural India is literally on a boil is of no consequence . . . Land grab is happening at a time when the country is already in the throes of an unmanageable food crisis given that the galloping demands for food in the years to come requiring more area to be maintained under agriculture. 

“. . . In the United States, the federal government is providing US $ 750 million to farmers for the period 2008-13 under the Farm Bill 2008 to conserve and improve their farm and grazing lands so as to ensure farmers do not divert it for industrial and private use.  

“In India on the other hand, the State governments are a tearing hurry to divest farm lands and turn them into concrete jungles in the name of development. “When people protest against acquisition of their land, men are arrested and women raped,” the apex court observed.” 

Demolition of the mainline economic thinking that weighs economic wealth over human welfare 

“Together with the 50-page order on ‘black’ money, the country’s highest court has conclusively demolished the mainline economic thinking that weighs economic wealth over human welfare.”


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