The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea of Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (GBMCL) against a Bombay High Court order refusing to reverse the acquisition of its plot at Vikhroli for the bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

“Much water has flown. The possession has been taken over and the construction has started. The only issue remaining is your claim for enhancement of compensation,” the bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud said at the outset of the hearing.

The bench, also comprising Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), that the cost of the bullet train project has escalated by Rs 1,003 crore due to the delay and in the present case, the only issue of compensation was remaining.

The solicitor general, assisted by lawyers including Suransh Chaudhary, said the land in question at Mumbai suburb Vikhroli stood acquired by the Maharashtra government and the NHSRCL for the project.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co Ltd, said the company wanted NHSRCL and the Maharashtra government to take its another plot. “The state said it will give us Rs 572 crore. I wanted more..,” he said.

The bench orally observed that the petitioner firm will have the liberty to claim enhancement of compensation for the plot and the plea against acquisition cannot be entertained as possession has already been taken and construction was on.

The GBMCL had challenged in the Bombay High Court the award and compensation of Rs 264 crore announced by the deputy collector on September 15, 2022 for acquiring its 9.69 acre land for the project.

The high court had dismissed the plea of the company which failed to get to any relief from the apex court too. NHSRCL is tasked to complete the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project which will have 508.17 km of rail track, including 21 km underground, and the distance will be covered in less than three hours. The mega project is likely to be completed by 2026.

Cause Title- Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors

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With PTI Inputs