The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered making public all records, including copies of file notings, related to the promulgation of land ordinance by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Exercising his right to information (RTI), Venkatesh Nayak had in January last year sought from the President’s secretariat photo copies of all materials on the basis of which the President had promulgated the land ordinance and the relevant file notings.
The application was then transferred to the Department of Land Resources (DoLA), which said the requisite information was not available with it. The query was also forwarded to the legislative department of the central government.
However, the legislative department said the information sought falls under the administrative ambit of the Ministry of Rural Development and records relating to the promulgation of the ordinance would be available with DoLA.
Aggrieved over denial of information, he filed an appeal with the CIC in May last year. In the course of hearing last week, Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava cited a response by the legislative department and said the records relating to the promulgation of the ordinance would be available with the department of land resources.
In view of this, the Commission directs the respondent (DoLA) to provide information sought to the complainant within a period of four weeks, he said.
The Centre had promulgated land ordinance for the first time in December 2014. It was repromulgated twice — in March and May-end last year – as the government could not get a law passed.
In March this year, the NDA government had decided not to repromulgate the ordinance yet again apparently due to stiff opposition from the opposition on the issue.
A Joint Committee of Parliament is examining the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015. It has been asked to submit its report by the last day of the first week of the Monsoon Session, 2016.
It seeks to amend the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, to enable the government exempt select categories of projects from the requirement of social impact assessment, restrictions on acquisition of multi-cropped land, and consent for public-private partnership projects.