The Narendra Modi government’s latest ordinance to amend the land law did not get an instant approval from President Pranab Mukherjee as he sought further clarification before promulgating it.
Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said that the President had called finance minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday evening, hours after the file related to the land bill was placed before the President.
While all earlier ordinances — eight in total — of the seven-month-old NDA government were promulgated by President automatically, the land ordinance saw the President posing some questions. During the UPA era, Mukherjee had refused to sign the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers.
Following a short discussion with Jaitley, Mukherjee signed the ordinance on land acquisition on Wednesday night. (Photo credit: Twitter)
Top sources suggested that as the government had not brought any bill before parliament to change the land law before pushing the ordinance, the President wanted to be absolutely sure about the urgency of the government to bring an ordinance.
Government sources added that an ordinance was necessary as the right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement bill, 2013 act envisaged amending 13 other acts by December 31 to bring them at par with the compensation and rehabilitation provisions of the land law.
The ordinance brought all those exempted 13 Acts under the purview of the land act for the purpose of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement, among other things. These acts are applicable for national highways, metro rail, atomic energy projects, defence establishments, electricity related other projects etc.
According to the Constitution, an ordinance can be promulgated by the President only after he is “satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action.”
The Centre has also argued that the amendments to the land law were necessary to push stalled projects worth thousands of crores of Rupees.