The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on Monday a plea by four farmers’ organisations challenging the validity of the government’s action to repromulgate the land acquisition ordinance.
“We will have it on Monday,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra said. Senior advocate Indira Jaisingh, appearing for farmers’ organisations had sought an urgent hearing of the petition.
The four NGOs —Bharatiya Kishan Union, Delhi Grameen Samaj, Gram Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam — in their petition said the action of the government in re-promulgating the ordinance on April 3 was malafide, thus, open to challenge. Stating that the Ordinance Raj is impermissible in the country, they not only sought quashing of the repromulgated land ordinance on the grounds of its being ultra vires of the Constitution but also want the apex court to restrain the government from enforcing it.
The repromulgation of The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, amounted to executive entering the impermissible domain of enacting legislation, they said.
According to the NGOs, the impugned Ordinance “is a text book example of blatant abuse of the powers” vested under Article 123 of the Constitution and such action by the government in promulgating successive ordinances bypassing the legislative process of Parliament is not only arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution but is also a fraud on the Constitution itself.
Making the ministries of law & justice, parliamentary affairs, home affairs, Cabinet Secretariat, and rural development as parties to the case, the petitioners contended that the discretionary power of the president to promulgate ordinances has to be “exercised judiciously” and the impugned ordinance does not even indicate what is the extraordinary situation necessitating it.
Whilst the NDA coalition has an absolute majority of 338 seats out of 543 seats in Lok Sabha, in the Rajya Sabha, the NDA has only 63 out of 245 seats, which is far short of majority. The government “deliberately” did not move the 2015 Bill for discussion in the Rajya Sabha after it was passed in the Lok Sabha “due to lack of numbers, political will or consensus”.