Synopsis & List of Dates in NBA Writ Petition, July 31, 2017


                  That the Present Writ Petition is being filed under Article 32 of the Constitution by concerned citizens to invoke the extraordinary powers of this Hon’ble Court, in the interest of justice to grant relief to thousands of tribal’s, farmers, women and children located in 192 villages of the State of Madhya Pradesh who are at the verge of being forcibly evicted for the impounding of the Sardar Sarovar Project at any time before 31.07.2017, without there being amenities and facilities available at the rehabilitation sites, including drinking water, proper shelter, primary medical and educational facilities, provisions for sewage and drainage and without many PAFs having received their entitlements.
                  This massive eviction by using force by the State Government, in such circumstances, will not only be in violation of the constitutional rights but, will also be a historical grave injustice done to thousands of these poor villagers.
                  These affected persons, in the process of development, are losing their villages and houses where they and their forefathers were living for generations. For the sacrifice which these people are making, they are at least entitled to the minimum relief, namely, to treat them with human dignity, so that their family and children are not exposed to vagaries of the rainy season. They must have a place with basic amenities and facilities and sufficient time to shift and settle down at the staid place.
                  After acquainting with the complete facts, including the judgments of this Hon’ble Court and the order dated 08.02.2017; the Petitioners herein have consciously decided to approach this Hon’ble Court for larger public interest, ex debit justified.

12.12.1979    Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award (hereinafter referred to as the “NWDTA”) was pronounced deciding the rights and liabilities of the 3 states. Inter alia, the NWDTA provided that each eligible ousted from whom more than 25% share of landholding was acquired and the adult sons of such families shall be entitled to 2 hectares of irrigable land, house plots and civic amenities in rehabilitation villages; rehabilitation must be ensured 6 months before submergence and in no event shall submergence precede rehabilitation. For the purpose of the present Petition, the relevant provisions of the NWDTA with regard to rehabilitation before 6 months of submergence and on R&R sites being ready are quoted below:
                      “Clause XI:
         IV (2) (ii): Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra shall set up adequate establishments for land acquisition and rehabilitation of oustee families. Gujarat shall deposit within three months of the decision of the Tribunal Rupees ten lakh each with Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in advance towards cost of establishment and rehabilitation in these States to be adjusted after actual costs are determined Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra shall start land acquisition proceedings for areas below RL 106.68 meters (RL+ 350′) within six months of the decision of the Tribunal and convey the lands to Gujarat for project purposes within three years of the decision of the Tribunal. Within 18 months of the decision of the Tribunal, Gujarat shall make an advance payment of Rs. 70 lakhs to Madhya Pradesh and Rs. 100 lakhs to Maharashtra towards the compensation of land, to be adjusted after actual costs are determined.
         IV(2) (iii) : Regarding the oustee families from areas above RL 106.68 meters (RL + 350′), Gujarat shall intimate to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra within six months of publication of the decision of the Tribunal in the official Gazette the number and general location of rehabilitation villages proposed to be established by Gujarat in accordance with the decision of the Tribunal. Within one year of the receipt of proposal of Gujarat, both Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra shall intimate to Gujarat the number of oustee families willing to migrate to Gujarat. The three States by mutual consultation shall determine within two years of the decision of the Tribunal, the number and general location of rehabilitation villages required to be established by Gujarat in its own territory. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra shall intimate to Gujarat the number of such villages to be established in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and for which Gujarat would be required to make payments to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively.
         IV (2) (iv): Gujarat shall acquire and make available a year in advance of the submergence before each successive stage, irrigable lands and house sites for rehabilitation of the oustee families from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra who are willing to migrate to Gujarat. Gujarat shall in the first instance offer to rehabilitate the ousters in its own territory.
         IV (3): Gujarat shall also provide the following grants and amenities to the ousters:-
(a)    Resettlement Grants (Rehabilitation Grant) – Gujarat shall pay per family a sum of Rs. 750 inclusive of transportation charges as resettlement grant.
(b)    Grant-in-aid
        In addition, Gujarat shall pay per family grant-in-aid in the following scale-where total compensation is received  Grant-in-aid Above Rs. 2000/-     Nil Between Rs. 2000/- and Rs. 500/-   Rs. 500/- less an amount equal to one-third of the compensation in excess of Rs. 500/- Less than Rs. 500/-Rs. 500/-
(c)    Civic amenities
1. One primary school (3 rooms) for 100 families.
2. One Panchayat Ghar for every 500 families.
3. One Dispensary for every 500 families.
4. One seed store for every 500 families.
5.  One Children’s park for every 500 families.
6.  One village pond for every 500 families.
7. Drinking water well with trough for every 50 families.
8. Each colony should be linked to main road by roads of appropriate standard.
9.  One platform for every 50 families.
10. Every oustee family shall be entitled to and allotted a house site i.e. a plot of land measuring 18.29 x27.43m. (60′ x 90′) free of cost. In addition, a provision of 30% additional area for roads, Government buildings, open space etc. shall be made by Gujarat under civic amenities.
11. The State of Gujarat shall make the following provision for rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh and
(a) Resettlement – – – Rs.750/-per family
(b) Grant-in-aid – – – Rs.500/-per family
(c) Acquisition of land for resettlement of families affected @ 0.40 hectares (one acre) for 6 families Rs. 1500/- per acre
(d) Civic amenities
1.    One primary school @ 100 families Rs. 30,000/- each
2.    One Community Hall-cum-Panchayat Bhavan @ 500 families Rs. 20,000/- each
3.    One Dispensary @ 500 families Rs. 25,000/- each
4.    One seed store @ 500 families Rs. 10,000/- each
5.    One Children’s Park @ 500 families Rs. 6,000/- each
6.    One well with trough @ 50 families Rs. 10,000/- each
7.    One pond @ 500 families Rs. 20,000/- each
8.    One tree platform @ 50 families Rs. 1,500/- each
9.    One religious place of worship @ 100 families Rs. 1,000/- each
10. Construction of approach roads and link roads for Abadies 3 km.per every new Abadi. Rs. 30,000/-per Km.
11. Electrical distribution lines and street lights 2 km. per 100 families Rs. 11,000/- per km.
12. Social amenities for each municipal town going under submergence, viz, water supply and sanitary arrangements layout, leveling of site etc. Rs. 5, 00,000/- each town
              IV (4) (i): Gujarat is directed to provide for rehabilitation and civic amenities as per directions contained herein above in Sub-clause IV (3) in its estimate for B-Land compensation and rehabilitation.
              IV(4) (ii) : Notwithstanding the provisions hereinbefore contained, Gujarat shall not be liable to pay any compensation for the loss of public properties, facilities or amenities such as drinking water wells, primary school buildings, internal roads, village sites, approach roads, dispensaries, Panchayat buildings, rural electrification, highway, bridges, telegraph lines, power lines etc. if corresponding alternative properties, facilities or amenities are to be provided at the cost of the Sardar Sarovar Project. The party owning the facility shall have the option to accept compensation for utilities as existing or ask for their replacement or relocation at the cost of Gujarat.
              IV (5): It is made clear that the monetary values in Clause IV(3)(c) are liable to be changed at the time of actual rehabilitation. Where any dispute or difference arises as regards the changed valuation the matter shall be determined by Arbitration in the manner provided in Clause III (2) above and Gujarat’s liability shall stand altered accordingly.
              IV(6)(i): In the event of Gujarat being unable to resettle the oustees or the oustees being unwilling to occupy the area offered by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra shall make such provisions for rehabilitation, civic amenities etc. on the lines mentioned in Clauses IV(1) to (4) above. Gujarat shall, in that event, be liable to pay all such expenses, costs etc., arising out of or in connection with rehabilitation and provision of civic amenities for the oustees including the cost of all acquisition proceedings and payment of compensation etc., as per the Land Acquisition Act, for the land allotted to oustees, for cultivation and habitation.
              IV(6)(ii): In no event shall any areas in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra be submerged under the Sardar Sarovar unless all payment of compensation, expenses and costs as aforesaid is made for acquisition of land and properties and arrangements are made for the rehabilitation of the oustees therefrom in accordance with these directions and intimated to the oustees.
              V (3)(iii): Gujarat shall at each successive stage of submergence intimate to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra the area coming under submergence at least 18 months in advance. The inhabitants of the area coming under the respective stages of the submergence will be entitled to occupy or use their properties without being required to pay anything for such occupation and use till the date to be notified by the State concerned which date shall not be less than six months before submergence. They must vacate the area by the notified date.”
09.08.1991This Hon’ble Court in B.D Sharma v. Union of India and Ors. [1992 Supp (3) SCC 93] was pleased to direct that the  rehabilitation should be completed at least six months before submergence:
          “7. Rehabilitation should be so done that at least six months before area is likely to be submerged, rehabilitation should be complete and should be in respect of homestead substitution of agricultural property and such other arrangements which are contemplated under the rehabilitation Scheme.”
18.10.2000This Hon’ble Court in the case of Narmada Bachao Andolan v. Union of India  [(2000) 10 SCC 664] directed the authorities to comply with the NWDTA, R&R Policies, Action Plans, and directions of the Grievance Redressal Authorities (GRAs). While holding that R&R is a part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It was held that further raise in the dam height (beyond 90 meters) will be only pari passu with the implementation of the relief and rehabilitation measures and that the affected persons will be better off  after displacement.
For the purpose of the present petition, Paras 151 and 152 which deals with R&R sites and Para 62 and 241 which ensures “better-off” rehabilitation and Para 245 about the implementation of NWDTA, are important and they read as follows:
       “62. The displacement of the tribals and other persons would not per se result in the violation of their fundamental or other rights. The effect is to see that on their rehabilitation at new locations they are better off than what they were. At the rehabilitation sites they will have more and better amenities than which they enjoyed in their tribal hamlets. The gradual assimilation in the main stream of the society will lead to betterment and progress.
       151.  The displacement of the people due to major river valley projects has occurred in both developed and developing countries. In the past, there was no definite policy for rehabilitation of displaced persons associated with the river valley projects in India. There were certain project specific programmes for implementation on temporary basis. For the land acquired, compensation under the provisions of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 used to be given to the project affected families. This payment in cash did not result in satisfactory resettlement of the displaced families. Realising the difficulties of displaced persons, the requirement of relief and rehabilitation of PAFs in the case of Sardar Sarovar Project was considered by the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal and the decision and final order of the Tribunal given in 1979 contains detailed directions in regard to acquisition of land and properties, provision for land, house plots and civic amenities for the re- settlement and rehabilitation of the affected families. The re-settlement policy has thus emerged and developed along with Sardar Sarovar Project.
       152. The Award provides that every displaced family, whose more than 25% of agricultural land holding is acquired, shall be entitled to and be allotted irrigable land of its choice to the extent of land acquired subject to the prescribed ceiling of the State concerned with a minimum of two hectares land.       Apart from this land based rehabilitation policy, the Award further provides that each project affected persons will be allotted a house plot free of cost and        re settlement and rehabilitation grant. The civic amenities required by the Award to be provided at places of re-settlement include one primary school for every 100 families, one Panchayat Ghar, one dispensary, one seed store, one children’s park, one village pond and one religious place of worship for every 500 families, one drinking water well with trough and one tree platform for very 50 families; approach road linking each colony to main road; electrification; water supply, sanitary arrangement etc. The State Governments have liberalised the policies with regard to re-settlement and have offered packages more than what was provided for in the Award e.g the Governments of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat have extended the R&R benefits through their liberalised policies even to the encroachers, landless/displaced persons, joint holders, Tapu land (Island) holders and major sons (18 years old) of all categories of affected persons.        The Government of Maharasthra has decided to allot one hectare of agricultural land free of cost even to unmarried major daughters of all categories of PAFs.
       241 …….It is not fair that tribals and the people in un-developed villages should continue in the same condition without ever enjoying the fruits of science and technology for better health and have a higher quality of life style. Should they not be encouraged to seek greener pastures elsewhere, if they can have access to it, either through their own efforts due to information exchange or due to outside compulsions. It is with this object in view that the R&R plans which are developed are meant to ensure that those who move must be better off in the new locations at Government cost. In the present case, the R&R packages of the States, specially of Gujarat, are such that the living conditions of the oustees will be much better than what they had in their tribal hamlets.
       245. …..This Court, as a Federal Court of the country specially in a case of inter-State river dispute where an Award had been made, has to ensure that the binding Award is implemented. In this regard, the Court would have the jurisdiction to issue necessary directions to the State which, though bound, chooses not to carry out its obligations under the Award. Just as an ordinary litigant is bound by the decree, similarly a State is bound by the Award. Just as the execution of a decree can be ordered, similarly, the implementation of the Award can be directed. If there is a short fall in carrying out the R&R measures, a time bound direction can and should be given in order to ensure the implementation of the Award.”
01.09.2003This Hon’ble Court in N.D. Jayal & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors., [reported as 2004 (9) SCC 362] held that rehabilitation being part of Article 21 of the Constitution, should take place six months before submergence. The relevant paragraph of the above judgment is quoted below for ready reference:
          “60. Rehabilitation is not only about providing just food, clothes or shelter. It is also about extending support to rebuild livelihood by ensuring necessary amenities of life. Rehabilitation of the oustees is a logical corollary of Article 21. The oustees should be in a better position to lead a decent life and earn livelihood in the rehabilitated locations. Thus observed this Court in Narmada Bachao Andolan case [(2000) 10 SCC 664]. The overarching projected benefits from the dam should not be counted as an alibi to deprive the fundamental rights of oustees. They should be rehabilitated as soon as they are uprooted. And none of them should be allowed to wait for rehabilitation. Rehabilitation should take place before six months of submergence. Such a time-limit was fixed by this Court in B.D. Sharma v. Union of India [1992 Supp (3) SCC 93] and this was reiterated in Narmada [(2000) 10 SCC 664]. This prior rehabilitation will create a sense of confidence among the oustees and they will be in a better position to start their life by acclimatizing themselves with the new environment.”
15.03.2005In another Writ Petition, being WP© NO. 328 of 2002 filed challenging the increase in height from 90 to 95 mts, this Hon’ble Court in Narmada Bachao Andolan v. Union of India [reported as (2005) 4 SCC 32], accepted that PAFs were not rehabilitated and that the R&R was to be done pari passu with construction. It was also affirmed in Para 44 by this Hon’ble Court that as per the NWDTA, irrigable lands and house-sites are to be given to the oustees one year before submergence and that notice for vacation of lands are to be given after completion of R&R and 6 months before submergence. Paragraph 44 of the judgment reads as follows:
          “44. In terms of NWDT award, the irrigable lands and house sites were required to be made available to PAFs one year in advance of the submergence and requisite amenities were also to be provided. Further, the notices for vacation of the lands are to be given after completion of the R&R of PAFs on or before 31st December i.e. 6 months before actual submergence (likely on the 1st of July of the next year)”
08.02.2017This Hon’ble Court in I.A. Nos. 42-43, 50-51 & 52-53 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 328 of 2002, after taking notice of Justice S.S. Jha Commission Report as to how the implementation of Special Rehabilitation Package has perpetuated the illegality and corruption, and resultantly in pauperization of the PAFs and keeping in view the fact that the PAFs have been denied land for land, this Hon’ble Court awarded a sum of Rs. 60 lakhs to those entitled to land for land to enable them to purchase the land of their choice. This Hon’ble Court also granted Rs.15 lakh to the other category of PAFs who were duped in the process of implementation of Special Rehabilitation Package. This Hon’ble Court further directed the PAFs to approach the GRAs with any grievance with regard to the amenities in the R&R Sites within one month from the date of the order. This Hon’ble Court further directed that in case such a representation is made, and is accepted by the concerned Grievance Redressal Authority, the concerned State Government would implement the recommendation, as expeditiously as possible, without raising any unnecessary objection. In case, if any of the PAFs are not satisfied with the recommendations made by the Grievance Redressal Authority (on the representation, or alternatively, if no decision is taken thereon, within three months of registration of such representation), it was said that it would be open to the PAF, to pursue its cause before a Court of competent jurisdiction, in consonance with law. This Hon’ble Court also affirmed the findings of the Justice Jha Commission and quoted the following conclusion of the Justice Jha Commission Report with regard to R&R sites:
          “The quality of construction was very poor without any planning. No geographical mapping was done before selecting the R&R sites whereby cultivable good black cotton soil is converted into house building sites for residential plots. There was a faulty policy of not establishing a laboratory to test the soil for carrying out constructions on the black cotton soil. The construction was done on the R & R sites on common maps and designs of the building. Superior officers had never cared to visit R & R sites to examine the construction work. The Government has found 40 engineers responsible for substandard quality of construction, but has not cared to rectify the defect after finding the substandard construction. Most of the places the expenditure on construction has gone waste as the R & R sites are not occupied by the oustees or they are occupied by very few PAPs and PAFs. Thus, the expenditure on these sites is waste of money.”
         Thus, it is clear that it was an accepted position that the R&R sites are in a bad condition and that amenities provided as per the NWDTA have not been made available in the R&R sites. After giving a time frame within which all R&R requirements were to be fulfilled, this Hon’ble Court held that the lands in question would thereafter be vacated by 31.07.2017.
06.03.2017-01.04.2017In pursuance of the order dated 08.02.2017 passed by this Hon’ble Court, PAFs filed complaints pointing out the lack of even basic amenities and facilities at the various R&R sites.
25.04.2017The GRA did not decide the individual grievances of the PAFs but passed a general Order in regard to the R&R, wherein it was held:
         “as far as the question of providing all amenities at the rehabilitation sites of displaced farmers is concerned, the Commissioner of Narmada Valley Development Authority is directed to get all R&R site inspected by competent officials and if there is any deficiency in the provision of basic amenities, the same should be completed within a time period of 2 months and the compliance report be submitted to the GRA”
The NVDA and other authorities have not complied with this order of the GRA.
25.05.2017NVDA issued a notification in the Gazette of the State of Madhya Pradesh stating that as per the directions of this Hon’ble Court dated 08.02.2017, it is mandatory for the oustees to vacate their land falling within the submergence area.
 It is submitted that  this Hon’ble Court was pleased to pass the order dated 08.02.2017, being conscious of the fact that rehabilitation has to be completed much ahead of  submergence. It was never the intention of this Hon’ble Court to fix a date, which enables the State Government to take unjust advantage by denying the rehabilitation, amenities and facilities to thousands of oustees. It is submitted that this Hon’ble Court, with the solemn hope, that the concerned authorities will complete the R&R in all respects and provide all the requisite facilities and amenities at the R&R sites, envisaged the date 31.07.2017
         It is submitted that far from providing amenities and facilities, even proper shelter at the R&R sites does not exist, which is evidenced from the fact that the tin sheds have been put up at the R&R sites. It is submitted that forcible eviction of the 40,000 PAFs from 192 villages on or before 31.07.2017 in such circumstances, would be in gross violation of not only the right to life guaranteed to them under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, but would also violate the rule of law.




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