President of India Pranab Mukherjee on 3 April 2015 promulgated the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.
The Ordinance was being issued in place of the LARR (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and will replace the LARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.
The (LARR) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 incorporates nine amendments as approved by the Lok Sabha on 10 March 2015.
Apart from the nine amendments, it provides for mandatory employment to one member of family of farm labour affected by land acquisition. This provision did not exist in either the bill approved by the Lok Sabha or the LARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.
Why re-promulgation of ordinance on land acquisition?
The re-promulgation had become necessary since the validity of the LARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 promulgated on 31 December 2014 expired on 5 April 2015. As per Article 123(2)(a) of the Constitution, an ordinance shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassemble of Parliament.
However, during the first leg of the session ended on 21 March 2015 the ordinance was approved only by the Lok Sabha by incorporating nine amendments to the bill and could not get the assent of the Rajya Sabha within the six weeks period from the reassemble of the Parliament for Budget session on 23 February 2015.
Also, an ordinance can be promulgated by the President only when at least one houses of Parliament is not in session. In this case the Rajya Sabha was prorogued on 28 March 2015.
Hence, in order to provide for continuity, the President re-promulgated the Ordinance on the recommendations of Union Cabinet that on 31 March 2015 recommended for promulgation of fresh ordinance on land acquisition.
The LARR (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 which came into effect on 5 April 2015 is the eleventh ordinance promulgated by the President since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came into power in May 2014.
Though the Constitution does not explicitly bar re-promulgation of Ordinances, the Supreme Court (SC) of India in DC Wadhwa vs State of Bihar case of 1986 declared Ordinance is essentially a power to be used to meet an extraordinary situation and they cannot be re-promulgated on a massive scale in a routine manner.
The SC also declared in the judgment that it has the power to adjudicate if the re-promulgation takes place to serve political ends of the ruling party and subverts the democratic process by not being introduced in the legislature for approval.
The list of 11 ordinances promulgated under the NDA government
1) The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014
2) The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014
3) The Textile Undertakings (Nationalisation) Laws (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2014
4) The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014
5) The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014
6) The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Second Ordinance, 2014
7) The Insurance Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2014
8) The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Ordinance, 2015
9) The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015
10) The Citizenship (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015
11) The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015
When: 3 April 2015