The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the NDA government to respond to a fresh petition challenging the legality of re-promulgation of the Land Acquisition Ordinance — thrice in five months.
A bench headed by Justice JS Khehar gave four weeks to the Centre to respond to the petition filed by Delhi Gramin Samaj — a farmers’ body.
The SC had on April 13 asked the government to file its submissions to the petitioner’s first plea challenging the promulgation of the ordinance. It had, however, refused to stay the operation of the ordinance.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 was passed by Parliament during the UPA regime to replace the 1894 law on the subject. But requirement of consent of 80% of land owners for private projects, mandatory social impact assessment for all projects, except a few made it difficult to acquire land, necessitating a new law.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance was first promulgated in December last year, re-promulgated in April this year and again in May.
With the land acquisition bill facing stiff opposition from Congress and non-BJP parties, the NDA government is mulling to change its strategy and let states enact their own legislation to push along the economic reform process.
Land is state subject, but acquisition of property is on the concurrent list. This means both state assemblies and Parliament can make laws that govern it, but, in case of conflict, the central law will prevail. According to Article 123 of the Constitution, an ordinance has the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament. But it has to be laid before both Houses of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassemble of Parliament.
The re-promulgated ordinance has to be presented before Parliament in the upcoming monsoon session that begins on July 21.