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SC seeks Centre’s response on plea against Land Ordinance


New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought the government’s response on a plea of farmers’ organisations challenging the legality of the fresh promulgation of the Land Acquisition Ordinance.

A bench of Justices J S Khehar and S A Bobde issued notice to the government asking it to file the reply within four weeks to the plea, which alleged that the Rajya Sabha was “deliberately” prorogued to re-promulgate the Land Ordinance.

The bench, however, did not allow the plea of senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the petitioners including Delhi Grameen Samaj, that it be heard urgently, as otherwise, it would become “infructuous”.

“Of course, if enactment comes, it will become infructuous,” the bench said, adding, “we have issued the notice” and the other side has to be heard after an opportunity to respond.

The farmers’ organisations, in their plea filed on April 9, have challenged the re-promulgated land ordinance, terming it as “unconstitutional” and ultra vires of the Constitution, besides being a “colourful exercise of power” by the executive to “usurp” the law-making powers of the legislature.

Besides Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kishan Union, Gram Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam are also co-petitioners in the case.

They have sought 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 petition says 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.

It said government’s action in re-promulgating the land ordinance was “malafide” and thus open to challenge.

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