New Delhi: Frowning at increasing incidents of government forcibly acquiring land for industrialization and residential schemes, the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that the Land Acquisition Act ought to be scrapped as it is a "fraud" devised by some "sick people".

In a morale booster to the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, the Apex Court complimented it for its land acquisition policy since there are "no complaints of any forcible acquisition" whereas issues of farmers and poor being uprooted are pouring in from all other states.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu cautioned that if remedial measures are not initiated then in another five years muscle men would take over the private land and utter chaos would prevails as the prices of land are shooting up everywhere.

"The Act has become a fraud. It seems to have been devised by people with a sick mind who have scant regard for the welfare of the common man," Justice Singhvi heading the bench observed.

The Apex Court made the scathing observations while dealing with a bunch of petitions filed by aggrieved farmers from Uttar Pradesh's Hapur district on the forcible acquisition of 82 acres of land by the state for developing a leather industry. "We are coming across several cases of land being acquired in the name of emergency and public purpose. The poor farmer is being uprooted from his place and deprived of his only source of livelihood.

"But there is one state from where we do not receive any such complaints. Look at Ahmedabad which is developing but there are no complaints from that place. They have the same officers of the same cadre as in the rest of the country.

"Mr Haren Rawal (ASG) comes from that state and he would vouchsafe for it," the bench remarked, suggesting that "the officers from other states perhaps should get training in Gujarat." Rawal was present during the hearing.

The Apex Court told senior counsel Pallabh Sisodia appearing for one of the litigants that it was unfair on the part of the authorities to frequently invoke the emergency clause provided under Section 17 of the Act.

"If you are uprooting people of their only sources of livelihood you (government) should make alternative arrangements for their livelihood and accommodation. It is time the Act is scrapped," the bench remarked while reserving its verdict.

(Agencies)