Land bill re-ordinance challenged, SC hearing on Monday

In a democratic process, people cannot be governed by laws made by the executive, says farmers petition

GN Bureau | April 10, 2015


#SC   #supreme court   #land acquisition bill   #executive   #ordinance   #Lok Sabha   #Rajya Sabha  

On Monday the supreme court bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra will hear a plea of a group of farmers' organisations challenging the legality of the fresh promulgation of the land acquisition ordinance. The farmers have challenged the re-promulgated land ordinance, terming it unconstitutional and ultra vires of the Constitution and as a "colourful exercise of power by the executive usurping law-making powers of the legislature".

The petition was filed by Bharatiya Kisaan 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 and 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 the government's action in re-promulgating the ordinance was malafide and thus open to challenge.

The petition said that in a democratic process, people cannot be governed by laws made by the executive.

The plea contented that the government has abandoned all principles of Constitutional morality by re-promulgating the ordinances. "The discretionary power of the president to promulgate ordinances has to be exercised judiciously and within the strict paradigm of circumstances, circumscribing the exercise of such discretion under Article 123," it said. "The law-making function under the Constitution was vested in Parliament," it said.

The petitioners said that the deliberate proroguing of the Rajya Sabha on March 28, while 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.

"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."

"Life and liberty of citizens cannot be regulated by ordinances and the executive cannot indirectly arrogate to itself the law making function of the Legislature," it said. "The ordinance making power under Article 123 was never meant to be a substitute to overcome lack of numbers of the executive in one house," the petition said.

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