Farmer bodies move Supreme Court against land ordinance

Four organisations based in Delhi and U.P. call it a “textbook example of blatant abuse” of President’s power to promulgate ordinances.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:30 pm IST

Published - April 09, 2015 07:25 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Farmers protest against the land acquisition Bill in New Delhi. File photo: Kamal Narang

Farmers protest against the land acquisition Bill in New Delhi. File photo: Kamal Narang

Calling it a “textbook example of blatant abuse” of the President’s power to promulgate ordinances, farmers’ bodies on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging the promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance on April 3, 2015.

The petition alleges that promulgation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Re-settlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 on April 3, 2015 by first proroguing the Rajya Sabha on March 28, 2015 was a “clever device and ruse” adopted by the government which subverts the legislative process of the Rajya Sabha.

“Lack of political will or consensus or the fear of the executive of getting defeated on the floor of the House, is not a ground for exercise of power under Article 123 (power of the President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament),” said the petition, seeking the ordinance be declared unconstitutional.

The petition is settled by senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor-General Indira Jaising for four farmers’ welfare associations — Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kishan Union, Gram Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam — variously based in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Asking the Supreme Court to call for the entire paper trail leading to the promulgation, the petition alleged that a fraud has been played on the Constitution.

Ordinances cannot be a substitute for legislative law-making, more so after the bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and not by the Rajya Sabha, it said.

“This ordinance does not even indicate what is the extraordinary situation necessitating it... the Supreme Court has categorically held that ‘Ordinance Raj’ is impermissible and in fact a fraud on the Constitution,” the petition contended.

It called the re-promulgation of the land ordinance a “colourable exercise of power on the part of the Executive”.

In the instant case, the land bill was passed on March 10, 2015. However, 10 days later, the Houses were adjourned on March 20, 2015.

The Rajya Sabha was thereafter prorogued on March 28, 2015, shortly before the ordinance was promulgated on April 3, 2015.

Here are the six important facts you need to know about the Land Bill. Source:

1 The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 seeks to Amend the Act of 2013 (LARR Act, 2013).
2 The Bill creates five special categories of land use: 1. defence, 2. rural infrastructure, 3. affordable housing, 4. industrial corridors, and 5. infrastructure projects including Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects where the central government owns the land
3 The Bill exempts the five categories from provisions of the LARR Act, 2013 which requires the consent of 80 per cent of land ownersto be obtained for private projects and that of 70 per cent of land owners for PPP projects.
4 The Bill allows exemption for projects in these five categories from requiring Social Impact Assessment be done to identify those affected and from the restrictions on the acquisition of irrigated multi-cropped land imposed by LARR Act 2013.
5 The Bill brings provisions for compensation, rehabilitation, and resettlement under other related Acts such as the National Highways Act and the Railways Act in consonance with the LARR Act.
6 The Bill changes acquisition of land for private companies mentioned in LARR Act, 2013 to acquisition for ‘private entities’. A private entity could include companies, corporations and nonprofit organisations.
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