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PIL by 4 NGOs challenges re-promulgation of land ordinance

On April 9, 2015 by Apoorva Mandhani

Four NGOs: Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Grameen Sewa
Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam have reportedly filed a Public Interest
Litigation in the Supreme Court, challenging the Constitutional
validity of the Land acquisition ordinance. The PIL is settled by
senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor-General Indira

The NGOs have alleged that the repromulgation of the Right to Fair
Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and
Re-settlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 on April 3, 2015 has led to
the executive encroaching on the impermissible domain of enacting

It alleges that the repromulgation of the ordinance is colorable
exercise of power by the Executive.

The Court was informed that the ordinance was first promulgated in
December last year. As a Parliament Session followed the promulgation,
the Government should ideally have introduced a Bill to replace the
ordinance. The Government however, did not follow this procedure and
instead repromulgated the ordinance after the Session.

This, according to the PIL, amounted to a violation of constitutional
procedures for ordinance promulgation and hence rendered the entire
exercise unconstitutional.

The PIL has called it a “textbook example of blatant abuse” of the
President’s power to promulgate ordinances.

It hence stated, “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).”

It further alleges that a fraud has been played on the Constitution of
India, stating that ordinance cannot function as a substitute for
legislative law making. This is especially when 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 asserted.

The new ordinance received the President’s nod on April 3, 2015. The
earlier ordinance was supposed to lapse on April 5. The new ordinance,
which is the 11th promulgated by the Narendra Modi government,
incorporates the nine amendments adopted by the Lok Sabha. Because of
a lack of political consensus, the Bill was not brought for passage in
the Upper House.

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