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How can land acquisition be carried out in a manner that denies the original owner the right of way to his remaining land? The question was raised by the Gujarat High Court, which has served notice on Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) in connection with a National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) project.

 Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice K.M. Thaker Wednesday sent a notice to L&T, an engineering and construction major, after allowing petitioner Subhashchandra Ghodasara to implead it as a respondent and asked the NHAI why the court should not allow the appeal.

“How can you acquire land in such manner which deprives someone of his rights?” the bench questioned NHAI. According to the case details, NHAI has acquired 11,000 sq m of the 14,000 sq m of land belonging to the petitioner on the Baroda-Bharuch highway in Gujarat.

NHAI has plans to make a rest house with all public utilities on the highway between Baroda and Bharuch. L&T has been given the project work on contract. Following land acquisition, the petitioner was left with 3,000 sq m of land surrounded by NHAI’s land with no approach road to reach his property, counsel for the petitioner S.K. Patel submitted in court.

NHAI project manager Chandan Kumar Sinha accepted the contention and admitted there was no approach road at present through which the appellant can approach his property. However, counsel for NHAI contended that the project work has been contracted out to L&T and it alone would be competent to answer the queries.

After the submissions of parties, the court allowed the petitioner to join L&T as party to the case and issued notice to the company. The court also asked the respondents why it should not direct them to construct an approach road. The matter is slated to come up for hearing Nov 24.

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