The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the operation of the land acquisition ordinance issued by the Centre, saying it would first want to examine the stand of the government in the matter.
The Constitutional validity of the ordinance was questioned in the court by a few farmers associations, following which a bench of Justices J S Khehar and S A Bobde issued notice to the Centre seeking its response.
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“Let us first see what they (government) have to say. We can also decide on calling for records then,” the bench told senior advocate Indira Jaising, who appeared for the associations.
The court also remarked that if the ordinance becomes an enactment, the petition would turn infructuous since it has challenged the manner of promulgating and re-promulgating the ordinance.
The petition has been moved by Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kisan Union and two other farmers’ groups. It questioned the manner in which the Rajya Sabha was prorogued solely with the view to enable the executive to successively re-issue the ordinance by proroguing it.
The associations alleged the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, promulgated on April 3 was a fraud on the Constitution and sought its quashing.
“Merely because it does not have numbers in the Rajya Sabha, the Executive cannot be permitted to continue the law-making exercise by way of an Ordinance. It is submitted that the life and liberty of citizens cannot be regulated by Ordinances and the Executive cannot indirectly arrogate to itself the law-making function of the Legislature,” the petition has stated.
It contended that the NDA government should have introduced a bill on the lines of the ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, but instead of following the Constitutionally mandated procedure, the government decided not to introduce the amendment in Parliament when it was in session and immediately after the session re-promulgated the ordinance.
This amounted to government violating the constitutional procedures for ordinance promulgation rendering the Executive decision unconstitutional, the plea said.