High Court directs the Govt. to get prior approval of the cabinet for selling JSW land

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday asked the State government to specify that the Government Order issued on May 6, 2021, for the sale of 3,667 acres of land to JSW Ltd., Ballari, will not be acted upon without approval from the State Cabinet.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj passed an order after hearing the PIL filed by KA Paul. questioning the government’s proposal to sell 3,667 acres to JSW for a meagre price of ₹1.22 lakh per acre. The justices asked the government advocate to get specific instructions from the government that it will not act upon the said order dated May 6, unless there is a decision taken in the cabinet.

Though the Bench on June 15, 2021, had issued an interim order imposing a condition that the Cabinet decision of April 26 to sell the land to the company would be subject to the court’s further order, it was brought to the court’s notice on Tuesday that a Government Order was issued on May 6 for sale of land to the company.

Taking note, on the last date of hearing, the court had made it clear that if any decision of confirmation is taken by the government on the basis of the decision taken in the cabinet meeting held on April 26, the said decision taken on its basis will be subject to further orders.

However, the government had on June 15 told the court that though the Cabinet meeting on April 26 had taken a decision to sell the land to the company, the said decision was “not confirmed” in the subsequent Cabinet meeting on May 27.

How could a Government Order have been issued if the Cabinet had not approved the Government Order, the Bench questioned while asking the government to clarify whether a Government Order can be issued without the approval of the Cabinet and to clarify the factual aspect of the decision on the sale of land.

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