This Land is Their Land

The issue of land acquisition has always been a “bone of contention” between government and land owner. In 1951 parliament has passed “Land Reform Act” in order to abolish Jamindari System in our country but this reform had conflict against “right to property” under art 31 of part III of our constitution. This never resolving conflict forced parliament to pass 44th constitutional amendment bill which has unlisted Right to Property from the list of fundamental rights and put in the list of legal rights.

Right to property was originally incorporated in Article 19(1)(f) of the Indian Constitution which declared that all the persons shall have the right ‘to acquire ,hold and dispose of property’ along with Art.31 which provided certain safeguards against the compulsory acquisition of individual properties which was based on English concept of private property  and was modelled on basis of Sec 299 of Government of India Act, 1935. As regards the constitutional provision relating to it Art 19 (1)(f) was subjected to reasonable restrictions under art 19(5).

Now Right to Property being a legal right can be acquired by government and compensation for this acquisition will depend upon rules and notification given by executive time to time. It shows that government can acquire private land for public purpose.

In 2011 UPA government proposed a bill “Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement” Bill which passed by parliament in 2013.

Why LARR Act 2013?

  • Government wants to replace land acquisition bill of 1894  which was against the rights of land owners mainly small and marginal land owners.
  • Government want to make union and state government to acquire land for the purpose of industrialization, development of infrastructure facilities and urbanization.
  • Government want to make land acquisition less harmful for land owner and new act is aspired to provide compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to private land owners.

Main features of the LARR Act 2013

  • It provide compensation four time greater then market value in rural area and two time greater then market value in urban area.
  • The new law require consent of people those are getting affected by the land acquisition. Consent of 70% affected people of acquisition is for PPP Projects and consent of 80% affected people when acquisition is going to take place for private company.
  • In case of the acquisition is tribal people’s land, gram sabha is authorized to take final decision, which helps to strengthen PESA Act 1996 and Forest Dwellers Act 2006
  • There is special provision of social impact assessment of affected people, which means before acquiring their land it is required to assess that what are the main effect in term of social and economic aspect after rehabilitation and settlement in other places.

Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 or PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India for ensuring self governance through traditional Gram Sabhas for people living in the Scheduled Areas of India. Scheduled Areas are areas identified by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Scheduled Areas are found in ten states of India which have predominant population of tribal communities


The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18 December 2006. It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act. The law concerns the rights of forest-dwelling communities to land and other resources, denied to them over decades as a result of the continuance of colonial forest laws in India. Rights can be summarised as:

Title rights – i.e. ownership – to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers as on 13 December 2005, subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family as on that date, meaning that no new lands are granted

Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc

Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection

Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife

Why Modi Government has decided to introduce an ordinance to make major changes in existing LARR Act 2013

  • Modi Government want to make land acquisition process smooth and easy in order to achieve their ambitious goals and targets set under ‘Make In India’ programme.
  • Foreign investors found difficulty and hurdles to take part in make in India programme  because of having tough land acquisition rules in our country.

What are the major changes brought by present government by ordinance

  • Government has listed five sectors where ‘Social Impact Assessment’ and consent of land owner is not require these five sectors are following:
  1. Land acquire for National Security
  2. Defense
  3. Rural Infrastructure including electrification
  4. Industrial Corridors
  5. Housing for poor
  • LARRA 2013 has excluded 13 previous act from the ambit of LARRA. These acts includes The National Highway Act 1956, Atomic Energy Act 1962 and Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remain Act 1958 etc.  It means if land was acquired and has to be acquire in future will under these exempted Act will not be liable to provide compensation under Land Acquisition Act.
  • New ordinance has made it mandatory to provide compensation to farmers and land owners even when acquisition will take place under these 13 Acts.

Problems faced by people even after Land Acquisition Act came into being

  • People are protesting against Sardar Sarover Project since 1980 which is famously known as Narmada Bachoo Andholan. Till now these people are not provided with promised compensation and rehabilitation.
  • In Gujrat people are getting affected by Dholera Smart City Project
  • Recently violence Bhangar and Singur are of Bengal is the same story where people are not provided with justice while their land has been acquired.

Conclusion

So we can say that India is a fastest growing country of the world. This trajectory of growth can be continued ony when investors and government have easy access to purchase land where they can setup their projects and that will further help government to strengthen programme like Make in India and Start up India, but at the same time it is duty of government to protect the interest of land holders of this country and maintain agricultural land which provide around 50% of employment and around 18% of contribution in GDP.  So both economic growth which can be enhanced by infrastructure development and capital formation and development which can be attain by providing oppostunities , facilities and protecting the interests of small and marginal land holders.

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