Allahabad: All petitions challenging land acquisition by UP government in Noida and Greater Noida areas were on Tuesday referred to the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court by a division bench with the request that a larger bench be constituted to decide the matter even as farmers were given an option to reach an out-of-court settlement by August 12.

A division bench comprising Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Ashok Srivastava passed the order while hearing petitions of hundreds of farmers from nearly a dozen villages of Gautam Buddh Nagar, who had challenged acquisition of more than 3,000 hectares of land by the state government.

The court refrained from passing any order on the applications of investors, who had moved the court under the banner of "Noida Extension Flat Buyers' Welfare Association", as well as builders, all of whom had made a request for being made parties in the case.

The court while referring the matter to the Chief Justice, fixed August 17 as the next date of hearing and also said that those petitioners who wished to approach the concerned authorities with their grievances and reach an out-of-court settlement could do so by August 12.

However, the court said that those who choose to arrive at any agreement with the authorities during this period would have to inform the court about the same on the next date of hearing with full details about the relief that they have agreed to, be it higher compensation or return of the acquired land.

Earlier a division bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday rescued itself from hearing a writ petition filed by farmers from a village in Gautam Buddh Nagar district, who had challenged acquisition of more than 100 hectares of land by UP government for housing projects in Noida Extension area.

The bench comprising justices R K Agrawal and Sunil Hali released the petitions filed by farmers of Deola village and referred the matter to the Chief Justice with the request that it should be placed before the "appropriate" division bench.

The petitioners had moved to the court with the contention that 107 hectares of their land had been acquired by the state government, which had denied them an opportunity to raise objections by invoking the "urgency clause" thereby depriving them of adequate compensation.

Meanwhile, hearing on petitions of farmers from nearly a dozen villages of Gautam Buddh Nagar, challenging acquisition of about 3,000 hectares of land, is likely to commence before a division bench headed by Justice Amitava Lala later on Tuesday.

An application has also been moved by the "Noida Extension Flat Buyers' Welfare Association", formed in the wake of recent judgements quashing acquisition of hundreds of hectares of land in the area, which has sought to be made a party in the case.