New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed Uttar Pradesh government's notifications for acquiring villagers' land in Ghaziabad district for setting up a leather city there.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu set aside the state government's notifications, issued in 2006 and 2007, for acquiring the land for the leather industry.

The court said it was wrong on the part of the government to acquire the land without hearing the objections of the owners by invoking the urgency provision under Land Acquisition Act.

"The respondents (government authorities) are not justified in invoking the urgency provisions of the Act, thereby, depriving the appellants(owners) of their valuable right to raise objections and opportunity of hearing before the authorities in order to persuade them that their property may not be acquired," the bench said.

The court passed the order on petitions filed by villagers and farmers challenging the state government's decision to acquire their land for setting up the industry.

The villagers had approached the apex court challenging two notifications issued by the state government on July 3, 2006, and on December 18, 2007, for acquiring the land for a planned development of the Leather City Project.

The acquired land was situated  at village Imtori, Chitoli, Sabli of Hapu Pargana in the district of Ghaziabad.

"The court should take judicial notice of the fact that certain schemes or projects, such as the construction of the Leather City Project for public purpose, which contemplate the development of residential, commercial, industrial areas, by their intrinsic nature and character require the investment of time of a few years in their planning, execution and implementation.

"Therefore, the land acquisition for said public purpose does not justify the invoking of urgency provisions under the LA Act," the bench said.

(Agencies)