Once it’s my land, I can do as I will
Setting aside the Bombay High Court judgment in the case of Voltas Ltd vs Tehsildar, the Supreme Court has held that Voltas Ltd, the manufacturer of air conditioners, refrigerators and other items, had not violated any of the terms of change of use of surplus factory land allotted to it 33 years ago in Thane, Maharashtra. For setting up a factory in Thane in 1966, the Maharashtra government had acquired more than 1 lakh square metres of land for Voltas and issued an allotment order in 1969 with a specific condition that the company shall not alienate the land without prior permission of the government. After about 24 years, the company was called upon to show cause as to why the land should not be forfeited and the amount of R14.11crore towards unearned income be not charged as Voltas violated the terms and conditions of the order by granting rights to the developers for the construction of houses and selling them, thereby benefiting to a large extent. After the state government imposed the charge towards unearned income, the company moved the HC, which in 2003 ruled that there was a breach of terms and conditions of the allotment order by Voltas. While remitting the matter back to the competent authority to decide whether the company was liable to pay any amount towards the unearned income, the apex court said that there was nothing on record to suggest the basis on which the authorities determined the unearned income. Further, no hearing was given to the company before passing the impugned orders against it by the collector.
In the name of those dead at sea
Directing the Centre to amend the Merchant Shipping Act 1958, the Supreme Court in the case of Sabeeha Faikage vs Union of India said that there was a need to have a relook at the laws “to ensure that the life of seafarers employed in different ships in the high seas is made more secure and safe and in case of loss of life their kith and kin are paid adequate amount of compensation.” While the government had submitted that the Shipping Act did not apply to seamen onboard foreign vessels, the apex court had taken note of an affidavit filed by the Centre last year in which the proposal for setting up an Indian Maritime Casualty Investigation Cell and