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SC seeks Centre’s reply on land ordinance validity 


We Hope PIL Becomes Infructuous Soon: Court
The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre‘s response in four weeks to a PIL challenging the validity of the land acquisi ion ordinance but hoped that he Narendra Modi government would revert to legisla ive process soon and render he PIL “infructuous“.Three Delhi-based NGOs have challenged the Centre’s have challenged the Centre’s decision to re-promulgate the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Ac quisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment Ordinance on April 3 bypass ng Parliament.

A bench of Justices J S Khehar and S A Bobde issued notice to the Centre after se nior advocate Indira Jaising argued that re-promulgation of the ordinance was a serious nfraction of the legislative scheme, which stood at the core of democratic govern ance. When the bench gave our weeks to the Centre to re spond, Jaising said this could render the PIL infructuous.

The bench said, “We may hope that it soon becomes in ructuous.“ The PIL could be come void if the governmen n the coming four weeks in roduces the bill, which was passed in Lok Sabha on March 10. Introduction of the bill in Rajya Sabha would mean the ordinance would lose its life as the legislative process com mences. The land acquisition law would get amended only if RS passes the bill followed by the President’s assent to it. The land acquisition Act was passed by Parliament on Sep tember 27, 2013, and the UPA government had notified it on January 1, 2014.

A week after the winter ses sion of Parliament ended on December 23, last year, the NDA promulgated the ordi nance, which brought in cer tain amendments to the land acquisition law. An ordinance having a life span of six months, has to be laid before Parliament within six weeks of the session commencing. The budget session of Parliament started on February 28. This means, the ordinance would have expired on April 5 if it did not get Parliament approval. After Lok Sabha passed the bill, the government knew it did not have the numbers in Rajya Sabha and hence prorogued it to enable re-promulgation of the ordinance, the petitioners said through advocate Devadatt Kamat and Gautam Talukdar.

“Contrary to all cannons of constitutional morality , the President on the advice of the council of ministers re-promulgated the land acquisition ordinance. The government’s decision was driven by the fact that the 2015 land acquisition amendment bill was sure to fall through in Rajya Sabha.Ordinance cannot be a substitute for legislative process for enacting laws. The government had not even indicated the extraordinary situation necessitating re-promulgation of the ordinance,“ the petitioners said.

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