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Land bill: Govt may use clause on removal of difficulties

New Delhi: Government is weighing options to wriggle out of the contentious land ordinance and may use a clause to remove difficulty to bring 13 central acts under the ambit of land acquisition law without going in for a fresh executive order.

Sources said that the Rural Development Ministry directly approached the Attorney General to seek his views on whether the clause on removal of difficulties may be used to include the 13 acts, which were kept out of the ambit of the Land Acquisition Act 2013 when the law was passed during UPA rule.

The AG is learnt to have given its opinion in which it has said that this was possible. However, there was no official confirmation about it.

Since the Rural Development Ministry has approached the AG directly over the matter and not through the Law Ministry as per rules, the latter has refused to take cognisance of the correspondence between the rural development ministry and the AG.

The Law Ministry was learnt to be of the view that the Ordinance will have to be brought again effective from September 1 if the 13 laws have to remain in the ambit of the land law.

These acts include the Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act 1957, the National Highways Act 1956, Land Acquisition (Mines) Act 1885, Atomic Energy Act 1962, the Indian Tramways Act 1886, the Railways Act 1989, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, the Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act 1962 and the Damodar Valley Corporation Act 1948.

The other ones include The Electricity Act 2003, Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act 1952, the Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act 1948 and the Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act 1978.

The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 had exempted 13 acts from its purview with the condition that they would be included under the purview of the act within one year. The NDA’s ordinance brought these 13 acts under the new land law.

If the ordinance lapses on 31 August, provisions of the new land law will no longer be applicable to land acquisition being done under these 13 laws and hence the Modi government has been claiming that the ordinance was re-promulgated thrice to maintain continuity.

Under the removal of difficulties clause, power is sometimes conferred on the government to modify the provisions of the existing statutes for the purpose of removing difficulties.

When the legislative passes an act, it cannot foresee all the difficulties which may arise in implementing it. The executive is, therefore, empowered to make necessary changes to remove such difficulties.