Budapest, April 12 (MTI) – The Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, on Tuesday upheld a ruling by a lower court finding the state at fault for leasing a plot used earlier as an organic farm to a private company.
In its ruling, the Kúria said that the company which won the lease, Mezővidék, had not conducted any farming activities and was ineligible to hold the land under the tender’s criteria.
In June last year, a municipal court ruled in favour of the Rural Development Centre of Kishantos, an organic farm in central Hungary, reversing a primary ruling declaring the Mezővidék contract valid.
The ruling said a contract must be declared invalid if the bidder does not comply with tender’s conditions and should have been disqualified from the bidding.
Disputes have been ongoing over the land leases in Kishantos ever since the new leaseholders started to plough up the organic fields in April 2014. The Kishantos farmers at the time said that the newcomers were not “legally in possession” of the area as there were several legal disputes still under way.
The farm ministry said in reaction to the ruling that the decision does not restore any rights of the former lease-holders to use the plot in question.
The ministry insisted that the ruling was only applicable to a 27-hectare plot out of 10 plots totalling 450 hectares. The winner of that plot, the ministry admitted, had “made an incorrect statement in their bid and therefore could not have won”.
The ministry noted that a court had earlier approved of the bidding system in which the new lease-holders were selected.