Tata Motors has told the Supreme Court that it wants to keep the leasehold rights over the 997 acre land allotted to it in Singur in West Bengal, as it is keen on returning to the state with next phase of expansion of the Nano car project.
The automobile firm's response came in reply to an earlier specific query of the apex court asking it to make its stand clear over the allotted land in the wake of changed scenario as the company had already moved its car plant to Gujarat.
"I have instructions from the highest level to submit that we are keen to return there (West Bengal)," senior advocate Harish Salve told an apex court bench comprising justices HL Dattu and Ranjana Prakash Desai on Tuesday.
Responding to Tata's stand, the counsel for West Bengal government said it would urge that the land be returned to farmers.
Taking note of the submisisons, the Supreme Court bench said since the company wanted to retain the land, it will have to decide on the state's plea on merits and fixed the case for final hearing in April next year.
The court was hearing a special leave petition filed by West Bengal government challenging the quashing of the Singur Land Acquisition Act by the Calcutta High Court.
The state government had moved the apex court against the Calcutta high court order which had struck down the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011 that allowed it to reclaim the 400 acres of land given to Tata Motors.
The high court had on June 22, last year, ruled that the legislation enacted by West Bengal government to recover the land leased to Tata Motors in Singur for its Nano small car project was constitutionally invalid as the President's assent had not been taken for the Act.