Land Acquisition Bill 2015 – The Second Amendment

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When the government brought the original ordinance/land acquisition bill 2015 in the Lok Sabha, it received scathing criticism and strong opposition from various political parties.

The virulent attack on the government by the opposition parties forced it to propose some secondary changes to the Land Acquisition bill 2015 (the LARR Act 2015) to gain the support of some of the dissenting parties.

Land Acquisition Bill 2015

Image Courtesy: By Nandini Velho (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Land Acquisition Bill 2015

Below are the changes that were made to the land acquisition bill of 2015.

  1. Social infrastructure was removed from the 5 categories of projects that were exempted from the proviso of getting 80% and 70% consent from the land owners for private and PPP (Private Public Partnership) projects respectively.
  2. To get exemption from SIA it is required to get a notification from the government and before issuing the exemption notification the government has to assess the land being acquired and make sure that it is in agreement with the minimum land required for the project. These notifications are to be issued from project to project basis.
  3. Restrictions on acquisition of irrigated multi-crop lands were re-imposed in the land acquisition bill 2015 but projects can get exemption from these restrictions if the government issues an exemption notification to this regard. But before issuing the notification the government has to see that land being sought for acquisition doesn’t measure more than the minimum land required for the project.
  4. When prosecuting a government employee for negligence, irregularities and misconduct, a prior sanction from the government would not be required. The employee can be prosecuted under the section 197 of code of criminal procedure.
  5. Regarding hearing of complaints on land acquisition the LARR authority has to conduct the hearing in the district where the land acquisition is taking place. The holding of the hearing can commence only after receiving a reference from the collector and a notice regarding the reference has to be notified to all the concerned parties.
  6. Under the new changes the government has to make a thorough survey of all the wastelands in the country and detailed records of all types of wastelands have to be kept.
  7. Land acquisition for educational institutions & private hospitals which was included in the original Land Acquisition bill, 2015 is excluded from the bill.

So these were the major changes that were made to the original ordinance/LARR Act 2015. These changes helped the government in winning over much needed support from different quarters, which ultimately paved the way for the passing of the bill in the Lok Sabha. Now the bill is stuck in the upper house where the NDA has fewer seats and as a result it will be much more difficult to pass the bill in Rajya Sabha, where the Congress Party and its allies are opposing the bill even after the necessary changes. Despite the opposition, the BJP and especially PM Narendra Modi are adamant that they would not make any further changes to this crucial Land Acquisition Bill 2015.

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