Supreme Court issues notice to Centre on plea against land bill

A bench of Justices J S Khehar and S A Bobde, however, declined to stay the operation of the ordinance.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: April 14, 2015 12:16:17 am
Land bill, Land ordinance, land acquisition bill, Supreme Court Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and others on a petition by a batch of farmers’ associations, which has challenged the constitutional validity of the land acquisition ordinance by the NDA government.

A bench of Justices J S Khehar and S A Bobde, however, declined to stay the operation of the ordinance, saying it would first want to examine the stand of the government in the matter.

“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.

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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 have alleged that the ordinance was a fraud on the Constitution, and sought quashing of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, promulgated on April 3.

“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 line of the ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, but instead of following the constitutionally dictated 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, as per the plea.

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