On back-foot, govt may not take Land Bill to Rajya Sabha

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018

Opposition plans to step up protests

The Centre appears to be backtracking on amending the land law for the time being.

Indications are that it will not take the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 to the Rajya Sabha in the ongoing Budget session.

Though the Government has been maintaining that it is not ready to step back from its intention to pass the Bill in Parliament, the upcoming Bihar elections, the high-pitch campaign by the entire Opposition against the Bill, and the NDA’s lack of a majority in the Upper House seem to be forcing the Centre to go slow on the Bill this session.

The current session of the Lok Sabha will end on May 8 and the Rajya Sabha on May 13. A senior functionary in the Narendra Modi Government told BusinessLine that the Ordinance will lapse only after six weeks from the commencement of this session — that is, first week of June.

“The Lok Sabha is in continued session and the Rajya Sabha commenced a new session on April 23. So, the commencement of the monsoon session should be taken to count the six weeks before the Ordinance lapses. That could be in first week of August,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

He added that the Government can decide not to prorogue the House to extend the life of the Ordinance. According to the Constitution, if the Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks “shall be reckoned from the later of those dates.”

The Government’s idea is to keep the land ordinance alive for at least for a couple of months.

In any case, the Bill will not be taken up in this session in the Rajya Sabha. The Government seems to have conveyed to the leaders of various parties its intention. “The Government seems to be in deep reflection whether to bring the Bill in Rajya Sabha,” said CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury.

He said joint protests against the Bill will be intensified by the Opposition. Another leader from the Opposition side said the Centre’s decision to not to push the Bill may be to save Modi’s image.

“There is already a perception that Modi is anti-farmer,” the leader added.

Published on April 30, 2015

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