Land Bill controversy: SC issues notice to Modi govt on re-promulgation of Ordinance
New Delhi, April 13: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Modi government. The Court issued notice on a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the manner in which the land acquisition ordinance was re-promulgated.
The ordinance which was ratified by the Lok Sabha recently is being termed as anti-farmers.
Issuing notice, the apex court bench of Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice S.A. Bobde gave BJP government four weeks time to respond on the matter. Within this time limit, Modi Government has to take a decision on a plea by a group of farmers' organisations.
"Let us first see what they (government) have to say. We can also decide on calling for records then", the bench said.
The farmers' organisations, in their plea had challenged the re-promulgated land ordinance, terming it as "unconstitutional" and ultra vires of the Constitution and as a "colourful exercise of power" by the executive usurping law-making powers of the legislature.
When issue reached to court
The petition was filed by Bharatiya Kishan Union, Gram Sewa Samiti, Delhi Grameen Samaj and Chogama Vikas Avam, seeking a direction to restrain the government from acting upon in furtherance of the Right to Fair Compensation & Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.
The farmers' bodies said the government's action in promulgating successive ordinances bypassing the legislative process of Parliament was not only "arbitrary and violative" of Article 14 but also a "fraud on the Constitution" itself. They said government's action in re-promulgating the ordinance was "malafide" and thus open to challenge.
The government "deliberately" did not move the 2015 bill for discussion in the Rajya Sabha after its passage in the Lok Sabha between March 10 and 20 "due to lack of its numbers, political will or consensus," the petition has said in which Ministries of Law and Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Home Affairs, Rural Development and Cabinet Secretariat have been made parties.
The petition termed the continuation and re-promulgation of ordinances as "colourful exercise of power" on Executive's part and said that in a democratic process, people cannot be governed by laws made by the Executive.
The petitioners also said the "deliberate proroguing" of the Rajya Sabha on March 28, "whilst it was in Budget session only for the oblique and malafide purpose of re-promulgating the impugned Ordinance goes against the very spirit and raison de'etre underlying Article 123 of the Constitution".
(With inputs from agency)