Explained: Government allows controversial land acquisition ordinance to lapse
The Government of India is letting the controversial Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Second Ordinance 2015 die its natural death on 31 August 2015.
The ordinance which was promulgated on 1 June 2015 had to be ratified by the Parliament within 6 weeks of the start of monsoon session on July 22. However due to stiff opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the bill could not get passed during the the monsoon session which ended on August 13. Government of India is not re-promulgating the ordinance and hence the existing ordinance will lapse at the end of the six weeks i.e. on 31 August.
PM Modi announces on Mann ki baat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann ki baat broadcasted on 30 August announced:
We had issued an Ordinance, the Ordinance expires tomorrow on 31st August and I have decided that it may be allowed to expire. It means that the situation prior to my Government will again restored.
Challenge pending before Supreme Court
It may be noted that the constitutional validity of the ordinance is under challenge before the Supreme Court of India in PIL petitions filed against it. However the lapse of the ordinance may render the PILs infructuous. (Read more)
Executive orders to cover 13 Acts
However before the lapse, on 30 August 2015, the Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development issued an executive order to use powers under the Section 113 of the parent Act – “removal of difficulties” to bring in the 13 excluded central legislation under the purview of the 2013 Act. This will ensure that land acquired under 13 Acts get the same compensation as available for others. These 13 Acts prescribe acquisition of land for, among others, highways, metro, Railways and mining, and were exempted from the purview of the Land Act 2013 with the condition that they would be included within one year.
A press release of the Government said:
It is proposed to issue an order under the removal of difficulties section 113 (1) of the RFCTLARR Act, 2013 for extending the provisions of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement as mentioned in First, Second and Third Schedules to the Acts mentioned in the Fourth Schedule of the RFCTLARR Act, 2013.
Modi said that the government has issued an executive order to cover all the 13 Acts under the 2013 Land Act so that the farmers don’t suffer nor face any economic loss.
|1 January 2014||RFCTLARR Act, 2013 comes into existence repealing the Land Acquisition Act, 1984|
|31 December 2014||RFCTLARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 promulgated|
|24 February 2015||RFCTLARR (Amendment) Bill, 2015 introduced in Lok Sabha|
|10 March 2015||RFCTLARR (Amendment) Bill, 2015 passed in Lok Sabha with amendments but could not be passed by the Rajya Sabha and remains pending|
|3 April 2015||RFCTLARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 incorporating the amendments made by the Lok Sabha promulgated|
|10 April 2015||PIL filed in Supreme Court to declare RFCTLARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 as “unconstitutional” and ultra vires of the Constitution and as a “colourful exercise of power”|
|13 April 2015||Supreme Court issues notice in the PIL but refuses to stay the RFCTLARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.|
|11 May 2015||RFCTLARR (Amendment) Second Bill, 2015 introduced in the Lok Sabha|
|13 May 2015||RFCTLARR (Amendment) Second Bill, 2015 referred to the Joint Committee of Parliament|
|30 May 2015||RFCTLARR (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2015 promulgated|
|22 July 2015||Monsoon session begins. Ordinance to be ratified within six weeks to survive.|
|31 August 2015||Ordinance expires|
Bill pending with the Parliament
The amendment bill which has been passed by the Lok Sabha is pending for approval before the Rajya Sabha. Presently the bill is with the Joint Committee of Parliament chaired by BJP MP S.S. Ahluwalia for detailed discussion on the provisions of the legislation.
Reportedly, government has already decided to withdraw most of the amendments made to the parent 2013 Act which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. The joint committee of both houses of parliament had moved amendments seeking dilutions in the bill.
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