Making the retrospective clause in the recently passed Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act more encompassing,the Rural Development Ministry has eased provisions in the draft rules to the Act. This will ensure that everyone whose land has been acquired but who has not taken compensation or given up possession yet can choose to benefit from the new legislation. The rules were circulated for public consultation on Monday.
Effectively,this enables more people to benefit from the new Act which offers significantly higher monetary benefits for land that is acquired.
The Act,which replaces the Land Acquisition Act,1894,has sought to correct the low rates of compensation under the old Act by providing compensation of up to four times the market value in rural areas and twice the market value in urban areas. The legislation also provides for rehabilitation and resettlement benefits in addition to one-time cash payments.
Under the retrospective clause,the Act had said in addition to cases where no awards had been made,the provisions of the new law would also apply in cases where awards were made five or more years prior to the commencement of this Act but the physical possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid.
The Act was thus silent on those whose land may have been acquired within the last five years but who have not taken compensation. However,in the draft rules,the ministry has clarified that even those acquisitions (where compensation/physical possession has not happened) which would have been excluded from the benefits of the new Act because they have remained pending for less than five years will now be included,if the situation of pendency continues unchanged for a period that equals to or exceeds five years.