Rajasthan HC Dismisses Petition to Cancel Land Allotment for Solar Plant in Jodhpur

Reported by

Kuber Bathla

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

March 14, 2022

March 14, 2022

Updated on

March 14, 2022

Location of Conflict

Ugras

Nagnechinagar

Jodhpur

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Renewable Power

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

331

ha

Starting Year

2018

State

Rajasthan

Sector

Power

Residents of Ugras and Nagnechinagar villages in Jodhpur district had been opposing a solar power plant by Essel Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Limited (ESUCRL), a joint venture of the state and IL&FS Energy Development Company Limited. The plant is proposed over 331.1 hectares of land in Ugras, listed in government records as ‘barren’ or ‘wasteland’. The solar plant is expected to generate 750 megawatt of power.

The proposed land is home to dhanis (a cluster of houses in the middle of a field), which the residents claimed were built 40-45 years ago, and is also used to cultivate crops. They claimed that they were not informed about the land allocation to ESUCRL and that they had complete rights over the land. According to them, the land in question includes water tanks, hills, oran, rivers, schools, temple and residential houses and, thus, is used by the community.

In 2018, the residents protested outside the sub-division office in Phalodi, Jodhpur, and demanded that the project be stopped. They also submitted a memorandum. The same year, they filed a case in the High Court of Rajasthan for cancellation of land allotment of 331 hectares in Ugras, but the court dismissed the petition, citing lack of adequate evidence to ascertain whether the said land was being used for public utilities or not. The court had ordered a survey to determine this, but there was no official update on whether the survey was conducted.

One of the petitioners informed LCW that they did not wish to pursue the matter after the court's verdict.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

452

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2021

Page Number In Investment Document:

6

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

June 29, 2021

Why did the conflict end?

Court decision not in favour of community

In Ugras village in Jodhpur, the residents had demanded that the land allotted to Essel Saurya Urja Limited be cancelled on the grounds that the land is being used for public utility. However, the demand was rejected both by a single-judge bench of the Rajasthan high court as well as a division bench of the court, citing lack of adequate evidence to ascertain whether the said land was being used for public utilities or not. After the court order, the petitioners did not pursue the matter further.

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Rajasthan Land Revenue Act, 1956
Section 100 [State government to make rules regulating sale of land in industrial and commercial areas and impose annual assessment of lands wherever necessary], Section 61 [Tehsildar to issue proclamation where tenant has abandoned their holding] Section 90B [Conversion of agricultural land to other uses like residential and commercial in both urban and rural areas]
Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955
Section 16 [Land in which no khatedari rights to accrue would include land used for casual and occasional cultivation near riverbed or tank]
Rajasthan Land Revenue (Allotment of Land for Setting up of Power Plant based on Renewable Energy Sources) Rules, 2007
Rule 7 [Sub-Divisional Officer to issue proclamation as laid down in Section 61 of Land Revenue Act, 1956, so as to invite applications from landless agriculturalists for allotment of land]
Rajasthan Land Reforms and Acquisition of Landowners' Estates Act, 1963
Rule 7 [Sub-Divisional Officer to issue proclamation as laid down in Section 61 of Land Revenue Act, 1956, so as to invite applications from landless agriculturalists for allotment of land]
Rajasthan State Government vide Cabinet Decision No. 65/2009, dated August 25, 2009
The state government decided to cancel the pending applications for the allotment of Barani land in Jaisalmer district and all other pending invited applications through this Cabinet decision.
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

No

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Jodhpur Bench, High Court of Rajasthan

Case Number

CW-16304/18, CW-16305/18, SAW-52/2020, SAW-51/2020

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

On November 27, 2019, a single-judge bench of the Rajasthan high court, in cases CW-5707/2018 and CW-11551/2018, had dismissed the claim made by petitioners that the allotment of land to Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan Limited (AREPRL) is contrary to the provisions of Section 16 of the Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955. The counsel for the state submitted that the company was a joint venture, in which state had a 50 per cent shareholding. The counsel also stated that the establishment of solar parks would not be a nuisance to the residents and that the company would remain confined to only the land granted to it. Further, he claimed there was no evidence of pollution due to the establishment of the solar park. The court accepted this claim and dismissed the petition. Using the same reasoning, the judge dismissed cases CW-16304/2018 and CW-16305/2018, which had a different respondent - Essel Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Limited. The court dismissed the petition for cancellation of land allotment of 331 hectares in Ugras village and 402 hectares in Nagnechinagar village, citing lack of adequate evidence to ascertain whether the said land was being used for public utilities or not. The petitioners in the above cases preferred an appeal before the division bench of the high court. The court recorded the submissions of both parties at length and concluded that the petitioners had not provided sufficient evidence. The court also noted that the petitioners had not placed any record of their possession of the lands which had been allotted to ESUCRL nor was there any record of them having cultivator possession. The court further cited cases such as Jagpal Singh v. State of Punjab and Ors. and Hinch Lal Tiwari v. Kamla Devi and Ors. to emphasise that the state should refrain from allotting land falling near waterbodies like nala, tank, etc.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

District Collector of Jodhpur, Board of Revenue for Rajasthan, Energy Department

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

LCW reached out to Subodh Agarwal, additional chief secretary to the state government, energy department, and Himanshu Gupta, district magistrate of Jodhpur, via emails and phone calls but did not get any response.

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

LCW did not receive any response despite multiple emails and calls to the office of the company.

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Essel Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

LCW did not receive any response despite multiple emails and calls to the office of the company.

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch
X

Support our work

Your contribution ensures continuity of this crucial project.

As a member, you will get exclusive access to special reports, policy papers and research projects undertaken by Land Conflict Watch and behind-the-scenes interactions with the writers and researchers about their work.
Join Now