Scrapping of Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme: Haryana cabinet didn’t wait to enact relevant provision | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Scrapping of Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme: Haryana cabinet didn’t wait to enact relevant provision

While the applicable provision is yet to receive the assent of the President, the state government went ahead with the de-notification decision under a different provision, a move which may not withstand legal scrutiny. An amendment Bill for facilitating such de-notification in the Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013 is pending with the President for assent,

india Updated: Oct 09, 2017 16:14 IST
The de-notification decision was based on the advice of Advocate General (AG) who cited section 101 of the Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013 for de-notifying/withdrawing the notification to acquire land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.
The de-notification decision was based on the advice of Advocate General (AG) who cited section 101 of the Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013 for de-notifying/withdrawing the notification to acquire land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.(HT File )

The decision of the Haryana council of ministers to de-notify 1,019-acre land acquired for the Dadupur-Nalvi irrigation scheme seems to be on a weak footing. The government seems to have done a rush job by not invoking the relevant provision for de-notification.

The move has already set off a series of protests by farmers and opposition parties.

While the applicable provision is yet to receive the assent of the President, the state government went ahead with the de-notification decision under a different provision, a move which may not withstand legal scrutiny. An amendment Bill for facilitating such de-notification in the Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013 is pending with the President for assent,

The Cabinet on September 27 ordered de-notification of the land on the grounds of rising land cost due to enhancements ordered by the courts.

HT Explainer: What the Dadupur Nalvi irrigation scheme is all about

A-G advised to go ahead under Section 101

The de-notification decision was based on the advice of Advocate General (AG) who cited section 101 of the Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013 for de-notifying/withdrawing the notification to acquire land under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

The Cabinet on September 27 ordered de-notification of the land on the grounds of rising land cost due to enhancements ordered by the courts.

Section 101 pertaining to return of unutilised land says that when any land acquired under this Act remains unutilised for a period of five years from the date of taking over the possession, the same shall be returned to the original owner or owners or their legal heirs, as the case may be, or to the land bank of the appropriate government by reversion in the manner as may be prescribed by the appropriate government.

Legal experts say that Section 101 would not apply in case of Dadupur Nalvi land as it is not an unutilized land. “Moreover, the provision clearly pertained to land acquired under the 2013 land acquisition law. Even if the new law is interpreted for the sake of continuity of the repealed land acquisition law, the five year period does not apply to Dadupur Nalvi land since acquisition was partly done in 1987 and after 2005,’’ said an expert.

The provision

Interestingly, the Haryana assembly had passed an amendment Bill in March 2017 to incorporate section 101–A in the Right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement Act, 2013. The amendment Bill which is yet get President’s assent had proposed insertion of section 101-A (power to de-notify land).

The amendment said that when any public purpose, for which the land acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 becomes unviable on non essential, the state government shall be at liberty to de-notify such land on such terms as considered expedient by the government including payment of compensation on account of damages if any sustained by the land owners due to acquisition.

Principal Secretary, Irrigation, Anurag Rastogi on being asked said it is correct that land has been utilized partly. On the applicability of the Section 101 in the matter, Rastogi said the state government went by the advice of the Advocate General. “It is for the courts to decide whether this provision applies to this case or not,’’ he said.

Haryana Advocate General, BR Mahajan however maintained that land can be de-notified under Section 101. “The amendment Bill (section 101-A) is a similar provision proposed by the state government,’’ he said when asked why the government did not wait for the amendment Bill to get President’s assent.