PIL before Supreme Court challenging the land ordinance

landThe Land Acquisition amendment ordinances issued by the Central Government have been challenged before the Supreme Court of India by certain farmer organisations through PIL terming the ordinances as “unconstitutional” and ultra vires of the Constitution and as a “colourful exercise of power” by the executive usurping law-making powers of the legislature. The Petitioners include Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kishan Union, Gram Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam.

PIL seeks a direction to restrain the government from acting upon in furtherance of the Ordinances. Petition further alleges that the government “deliberately” did not move the 2015 bill for discussion in the Rajya Sabha after its passage in the Lok Sabha between March 10 and 20 “due to lack of its numbers, political will or consensus. They also allege that the “deliberate proroguing” of the Rajya Sabha on March 28, “whilst it was in Budget session only for the oblique and malafide purpose of re-promulgating the impugned Ordinance goes against the very spirit and raison de’etre underlying Article 123 of the Constitution”. [Hindustan Times]

After the promulgation of RFCTLARR (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2015, a fresh Writ Petition was filed to challenge the same. Notice was issued in both the cases and they have been tagged together for hearing.

Case Number Writ Petition (Civil) No. 184 and 375 of 2015
Case Title Delhi Gramin Samaj v. Union of India and Ors.
Petitioners Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kishan Union, Gram Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam
Respondents Union of India – Ministries of Law and Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Home Affairs, Rural Development and Cabinet Secretariat

Background

On 31 December 2014, the President of India had promulgated the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 (with immediate effect) to amend the parent Act of 2013. After the commencement of the budget session of the Parliament, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced to replace the Ordinance. On 10 March 2015, the aforesaid bill was passed by the Lok Sabha with nine amendments but the bill failed to gather the numbers to be passed by the Rajya Sabha and the bills remains pending there.

On 28 March 2015, President prorogued the Rajya Sabha. Subsequently on  3 April 2015, President of India, promulgated Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, (2015 Ordinance) w.e.f. 31 December 2014) and repealed and replaced the earlier 2014 ordinance. 2015 ordinance has incorporated all the nine amendments introduced when it was passed in the Lok Sabha. The ordinance only requires the nod from the Upper House to become law.

Subsequently, on 1 June 2015, President of India has promulgated the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Second Ordinance 2015 [RFCTLARR (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2015] replacing the previous ordinance as it was set to lapse on 3 June 2015.


Court Proceedings

10 April 2014download-order

Matter was mentioned by Senior Advocate Indira Jaisingh before the bench comprising of CJI HL Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra and sought an early hearing. CJI while saying “We will have it on Monday” passed the following order:

“List on 13.0.4.2015 before appropriate Bench”


download-order13 April 2015

Matter was listed before bench of Justices JS Kehar and SA Bobade. Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Indira Jaising said that this was one of the rare occasions that the President had re-promulgated an ordinance. On hearing, Court refused to grant an interim relief seeking stay on the re-promulgation of the ordinance and an urgent hearing. Court issued notice to the Union of India and granted it four weeks time to file its reply.  Court has also asked the Government to “hand over” all records leading to the re-promulgation.

Justice Kehar told Jaising:

We may not agree with you on the ordinance once we read the government’s reply.

Jaising responded:

This is for the first time this court is hearing such a matter. Most cases have been challenges on ordinances promulgated by State Governors… Four weeks? It seems Your Lordships want my petition to be infructuous. [The Hindu]

Jaising pleaded for reducing the notice period to less than four weeks, but the Bench refused. [Tribune]


download-order6 July 2015

After promulgation RFCTLARR (Amendment) Second Ordinance, 2015 on 1 June 2015 to replace the earlier ordinance which was set to lapse on 3 June 2015, a fresh writ petition – Writ Petition (C) No. 375 of 2015 was filed to challenge the subsequent ordinance. Court issued a notice in the subsequent petition which was accepted by the ASG Pinky Anand.

2 Comments

  1. at present what law is in operation regarding land acquisition—whether it is the old act of 2013 in vogue or the revised ordinance of 2014

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