Govt may again go in for ordinance on land bill

Last Updated 25 August 2015, 11:01 IST
Government today indicated it may go in for promulgation of the land ordinance for a record fourth time to maintain its "continunity" as there is no possiblity of the passage of a bill in Parliament to replace it before August 31, when the executive measure expires.

"Let us see. The time is till 31 August. Same is the case with the The Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015. Some decision will have to be taken in time. The problem in land bill is that if if we do not reissue the ordinance, the 13 other Acts under which land will be acquired will lapse.

"There will be damage. Those who have to get jobs will not get it as it not in the old law. This will have to be done keeping in mind all the aspects," Naidu told reporters here.

The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had exempted 13 Acts from its purview with the condition that they would be included under the purview of the Act within one year.

The NDA's Ordinance brought these 13 Acts under the new land law. If the Ordinance lapses on August 31, provisions of the new land law will no longer be applicable to land acquisition being done under these 13 laws and hence Modi government has been claiming that the ordinance was repromulgated thrice to maintain continuity.

The Joint Committee of Parliament headed by BJP MP SS Ahluwalia that looked into the land bill issue evolved a consensus on key issues including consent clause and social impact assessment provisions but differences remained on some.

The Committee has decided to give its report by Winter Session. So the govenrment has to take a call  on the land ordinace issue this week.

"We do not want to take a unilateral decision because we do not have majority in Rajya Sabha. It is a fact. So we are trying to talk to other parties. The Committee has done some good work and I hope they are able to progress and come with some satsifactory solution," Naidu said.

While BJP has 11 members in the panel, its ally LJP, TDP and Shiv Sena have one member each.

In the Opposition while Congress has five members, TMC has two, BJD, CPI-M, JD-U, TRS, NCP, SP and BSP have one member each.

The decision by the panel chairman Ahluwalia to seek further extension till the Winter session came on August 10 after a sharp exchange of words between BJP and Congress members in panel meeting over some provisions.

Following demand by Congress and TMC for more time, Ahluwalia decided to seek yet another extension from Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan as he wanted to submit a consensus report.

This meant the controversial land acquisition bill likely to be brought in the Winter session of Parliament after Bihar polls with opposition digging its heels on certain key provisions and the ruling side wanting to avoid a vote in the joint panel examining the contentious measure.

BJP was trying hard to replace the incumbent Nitish Kumar government in Bihar while JD(U), RJD and Congress are using the NDA bill to paint the Modi government as "anti-farmer".

"Since the bill is not coming before Parliament in the Monsoon Session due to lack of consensus. Hence the only likely probability is its repromulgation," sources said.

Sources in the government have been maintaining that there have been precedents of at least 15 ordinances have been promulgated twice or more, a fact to which Naidu also referred today.

An ordinance, which has a life span of six months otherwise, has to be re-promulgated if it does not get the endorsement of Parliament within six weeks of the start of a session. Monsoon Session started on July 21 and ended on August 13.

The government has so far maintained that re-promulgation was necessary for maintaining its continuity and providing a framework to compensate people whose land was acquired.

Government has earlier cited that at least six ordinances have been promulgated thrice during various governments including UPA-II.
(Published 25 August 2015, 10:54 IST)

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