The Parliament passed the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017 on July 18, 2018.
The bill, which seeks to amend the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952, was adopted by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament. The Lok Sabha had passed the bill in December 2017.
• The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill was moved by Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
• It seeks to amend the regulations governing the compensation payable for acquisition of immovable property by the Centre for defence and security purposes.
• It seeks to amend a provision to allow the Centre to re-issue the notice of acquisition to ensure that the property owner gets an opportunity to be heard.
• The bill will help bring justice to those whose land was taken without proper notice.
• This is the 12th amendment that is being introduced to the bill. The bill has been amended 11 times before.
• The amendment has been introduced solely for defence and national security purpose.
Critics of the bill
The major concern of the bill’s critics is that the bill should not breach the Land Acquisition Act, 2013, which ensures double compensation for land, if acquired for a public purpose in the urban area, and four times in the rural area.
According to the 2013 law, compensation for land acquisition for even national security and defence was not tampered and entitled to enhanced compensation.
The critics hope that the newly amended bill does not lower the compensation that a landowner was entitled to under the 2013 law or act against the interest of farmers.
• The Act provides for the central government to requisition immovable property (or land) for any public purpose such as defence, central government offices and residences.
• Once the purpose for which the property was requisitioned is over, it must be returned back to the owner in as good a condition as when the possession was taken.
• The central government may acquire such requisitioned property in two cases:
I. If the central government has constructed any work at such property and the right to use such work must be with the government.
II. If the cost of restoring the property to the original condition would be excessive and the owner refuses to accept the property without being compensated for restoring the property.
Re-issue of notice for acquisition: Under the Act, when acquiring a requisitioned property, the central government has to issue a notification with regard to such an acquisition. The Bill provides that the government may re-issue the acquisition notice to the property owner (or a person interested in the property) to give them an adequate opportunity for a hearing. The property owner at such a hearing will have to provide reasons for why the property should not be acquired.
Interest payable on compensation: In cases where a notice has been re-issued, the property owner (or a person interested in the property) will be entitled to an interest on the compensation payable to them. The interest will be calculated for the period from when the first notice was issued till the date of the final payment of compensation.
Applicability of enhanced compensation: The Bill provides that enhanced compensation will be awarded only when:
I. The acquisition notice is re-issued
II. The land is being acquired for national security and defence purposes.
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