Four NGOs: Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Grameen Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam have reportedly filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court, challenging the Constitutional validity of the Land acquisition ordinance. The PIL is settled by senior advocate and former Additional Solicitor-General Indira Jaising.
The NGOs have alleged that the repromulgation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Re-settlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015 on April 3, 2015 has led to the executive encroaching on the impermissible domain of enacting legislation.
It alleges that the repromulgation of the ordinance is colorable exercise of power by the Executive.
The Court was informed that the ordinance was first promulgated in December last year. As a Parliament Session followed the promulgation, the Government should ideally have introduced a Bill to replace the ordinance. The Government however, did not follow this procedure and instead repromulgated the ordinance after the Session.
This, according to the PIL, amounted to a violation of constitutional procedures for ordinance promulgation and hence rendered the entire exercise unconstitutional.
The PIL has called it a “textbook example of blatant abuse” of the President’s power to promulgate ordinances.
It hence stated, “Lack of political will or consensus or the fear of the executive of getting defeated on the floor of the House, is not a ground for exercise of power under Article 123 (power of the President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament).”
It further alleges that a fraud has been played on the Constitution of India, stating that ordinance cannot function as a substitute for legislative law making. This is especially when the bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha and not by the Rajya Sabha, it said.
“This ordinance does not even indicate what is the extraordinary situation necessitating it... the Supreme Court has categorically held that ‘Ordinance Raj’ is impermissible and in fact a fraud on the Constitution,” the petition asserted.
The new ordinance received the President’s nod on April 3, 2015. The earlier ordinance was supposed to lapse on April 5. The new ordinance, which is the 11th promulgated by the Narendra Modi government, incorporates the nine amendments adopted by the Lok Sabha. Because of a lack of political consensus, the Bill was not brought for passage in the Upper House.