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A division bench of the Calcutta High Court Tuesday referred Tata Motors’ appeal in the Singur land case to the chief justice after the West Bengal government counsel argued that the bench did not have the power to determine the case.

‘As per court list, this matter cannot be determined by this bench. It’s our legal and moral responsibility to inform the court about this. Following our request, the bench has referred the matter to the chief justice (J.N. Patel) for his view,’ government counsel Ashok Banerjee said.

‘We do not intend to delay the matter. It was our legal obligation because if the case is determined by this bench, the legality of the judgment can be questioned later,’ Banerjee added.

Tata Motors Monday got the permission of the division bench of Justice K.J. Sengupta and Justice Joymalya Bagchi to file an appeal before it against the high court’s earlier ruling that the government’s move to return the acquired Singur land to owner farmers was valid.

Company counsel Samaraditya Pal filed the appeal petition Tuesday.

Justice I.P. Mukerji Sep 28 declared the Singur land law enacted by the Mamata Banerjee-led government as constitutional and valid.

However, the company was held entitled to compensation, which was to be ascertained by district judge, Hooghly.

The automobile major had to shift its Nano small car plant to Gujarat from Hooghly district’s Singur in 2008, owing to protests by farmers led by the Trinamool Congress. The party sought the return of 400 acres taken from farmers, who were reportedly unwilling to part with their lands.

Within a month of forming the government in May, Banerjee enacted the Singur land law with the objective of returning the land to the owner farmers.

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