Pune: The Supreme Court on Friday put an end to a 48-year old land acquisition dispute of Pimpri Chinchwad near Pune, striking down then Maharashtra revenue minister’s order in June 2004 releasing the acquired land to a cooperative housing society.

It held that the minister violated the model code of conduct for elections by passing the order in view of the Assembly polls. The case was fought multiple times before the apex court and the Bombay HC since acquisition of 40 hectares of land belonging to one Deo family in March 1970.

The Bench of Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and Uday Umesh Lalit quashed the Bombay HC’s order in February last year that had allowed possession of 10 hectares of land to Vishnudev Coop Housing Society, restoring it back to Pimpri Chinchwad New Township Development Authority. The land was originally acquired for development for commercial and residential purposes, but the govt released partly about 30 hectares back to Deo family in July 1992 after court litigations.

The family sold the land so released to the housing society in October 1993 and it was the turn of the society that fought in courts and represented the government to release the remainder of 10 hectares of land.

The Supreme Court held that release of part of the land in the landowners” favour and retention of the remaining for the project was in the nature of a bargain and as such it disentitled the landowners to seek further release of the remaining land.

“We cannot concur with the reasoning and conclusion arrived at by the High Court which wrongly upheld the order dated 10.06.2004 passed by the concerned revenue minister,” the Court held while restoring 10 hectares of land back to the Pimpri Chinchwad authority.

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