Sunday 18 January 2015

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014

Highlights of the Ordinance
1.   Excluded 13 Acts brought under the Act for Compensation and Rehabilitation and Resettlement
Section 105 (read with Schedule IV) of the existing Act has been amended to bring 13 statutes previously exempted from the rigours of payment of compensation within its purview, primarily to benefit farmers and the affected families.
These 13 statutes are:
1.    Land Acquisition (Mines) Act 1885
2.    Atomic Energy Act, 1962
3.    Railway Act 1989
4.    National Highways Act 1956
5.    Metro Railways (Construction of Works) Act, 1978
6.    Coal Bearing Areas Acquisition and Development Act 1957
7.    Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines Act 1962
8.    Damodar Valley Corporation Act 1948
9.    Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958.
10.  Land Acquisition Act 1885
11.  Indian Tramways Act, 1886
12.  Railways Act 1989
13.  Electricity Act 2003 
2.   Mandatory 'consent' clause and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) omitted
As per the changes brought in the ordinance, the mandatory 'consent' clause and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) will not be applicable if the land is acquired for five purposes including

a) national security or defence of India
b) rural infrastructure including electrification,
c) industrial corridors
d) affordable housing and housing for poor
e) infrastructure and social infrastructure including projects under public private partnership (PPP) where ownership of land continues to be vested with the government.
Multi-crop irrigated land can also be acquired for these purposes.
Private hospitals, educational institutions and hotels will be included under definition of public purpose, and exempt from SIA.
3.   The ordinance makes a significant change by relaxing the retrospective clause and thus, reduce the number of beneficiaries. As per the ordinance the clause will not apply in case the delay is caused due to any stay or injunction by court. 
4.   Amendment to section 101 of the Act
The ordinance relaxes the period of time after which unutilised acquired land must be returned to its original owner. Thus, an entity with unutilised acquired land can keep it for the period it specifies for setting up the project, even if it is much more than five years.
5.   Amendment to section 87 of the Act - Section is related to Offences by Government Servants
The ordinance says that the civil servants can be prosecuted only after taking sanction from the government, as against the original Act which provided for provisions to penalise them in case of violations.
The 2013 Act states 'Where an offence under this Act has been committed by any department of the government, the head of department shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly…,”
However, the amendment, , says '…no court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction of the appropriate government, in the manner provided in section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure”.
6.   Term 'private company' replaced with 'private entity'
The Ordinance replaces the term 'private company' with 'private entity”, meaning thereby that while earlier acquisitions for private purposes was limited to private companies registered under the Companies Act, 1956 it can now be extended to any private entity.
7.   Definition of ‘compensation paid’ changed
The Ordinance changes the definition of ‘compensation paid’ from an amount deposited in the court which was defined by the Supreme Court to any amount paid into any account maintained for the purpose.
However, the compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement provisions will be applicable as per the Act for acquiring land for these purposes. The farmers' compensation will remain the same that is four times the market rate for urban areas and twice for rural areas.
It is true and accepted fact that the land is needed for developmental projects. However, the sacrifice of the people who give their land and livelihood in the process should not be ignored. The affected families should be compensated adequately. This is the step forward in this regard and many more improvements regarding the compensation criteria and for more simplification of process are required.
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1 comment:

  1. Sir, It is stated that with reference to para 7 as stated above, where is compensation at four times ? There is no change in Schedule one of the RTFCRR Act 2013 even ordinance has been issued thrice. Will you please comment on the aplicability of Schedule one, two , three after including the enactments as per schedule IV in the ambit of 2013 act. especially National Highways act 1956 where an award passed just before 1.1.15 no compensation paid, no possession taken. Your guidance can save the poor farmers.