Land Bill: Panel Seeks More Time, Report to be Submitted in Winter Session

With the JPC unanimously deciding to submit its report in the next session, the contentious Land Acquisition Bill has been pushed to the Winter Session of Parliament.

Published: 11th August 2015 04:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th August 2015 08:55 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI:With the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) unanimously deciding to submit its report in the next session, the contentious Land Acquisition Bill has been pushed to the Winter Session of Parliament.

During their meeting on Monday, the JPC members argued that the legislation would require more consultations.

The JPC headed by BJP MP S S Ahluwalia was expected to submit its report on Tuesday, as it had earlier got an extension. Now, the panel would seek more time to submit the report in the first week of Winter Session.

The JPC has not been able to reach a conclusion on the report, with the Congress and Left parties staying adamant.

Though the meeting was expected to evolve a consensus on three key provisions, including the one on return of unutilised land to its owners after five years and the retrospective clause, only the second issue was taken up briefly. But the Congress members vociferously opposed any change in provision 24 (2) of the UPA Act, which has been diluted in the NDA Bill.

Sources said Ahluwalia’s “delaying tactics” remark saw Congress members Jairam Ramesh and P L Punia staging a walkout. When other Opposition members asked Ahluwalia to withdraw his remark, he did so and the Congress members were persuaded to join back.

Sources said Ahluwalia wanted the committee to resolve all issues for finalising the report.  As there was no unanimity on three clauses in the Bill and as the JPC could not discuss them, Ahluwalia suggested that the panel should not submit its report in this session ending on August 13 and instead do so in the first week of the Winter Session.

According to government sources, there were too many drafting errors in the 2013 Bill that needed rectification. “The spirit of the 2013 Bill, which talked about the consent clause and social impact assessment, was diluted by many drafting errors. The Section 2 (1), under which land is acquired, does not mention the word consent. However, the next Section mentions the word consent. Any careful reading of the old Act could lead to more litigation and even defeat the very purpose of the Bill that the Congress had argued for,” a top government source said.

The NDA Government has been forced to soften its stance on the 2015 Bill owing to strong opposition from political parties and some Sangh outfits.

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