NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today sought the Centre's reply on a fresh plea of farmers' organisations challenging the legality of re-promulgation of the Land Acquisition Ordinance.
A bench comprising Justices J S Khehar and Adarsh Kumar Goel asked the central government to file its response to the PIL, filed by farmers body, Delhi Gramin Samaj, in four weeks.
The NDA government had recently re-promulgated the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, after it lapsed on June 4. The ordinance was first promulgated in Dcember last year, re-promulgated in April this year and again in May.
The bench had also issued the notice to the Centre on April 13 after the ordinance was first re-promulgated. The fresh plea was to be filed as the new ordinance was issued.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the petitioners including Delhi Grameen Samaj, has been seeking urgent hearing.
The farmers' organisations, in their plea, have challenged the re-promulgated ordinance, terming it as 'unconstitutional' and 'ultra vires' of the Constitution, besides being a "colourful exercise of power" by the executive to "usurp" the law-making powers of the legislature.
Besides Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Gram Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam are also co-petitioners in the case.
They have sought a direction to restrain the government from acting upon in furtherance of the Ordinance.
The petition says the government's action in promulgating successive ordinances "bypassing" the legislative process of Parliament, was not only "arbitrary and violative" of Article 14 but also a "fraud on the Constitution" itself.
It said the government's action in re-promulgating the land ordinance was "malafide" and thus open to challenge.
It has arraigned the Ministries of Law and Justice, Parliamentary Affairs, Home Affairs, Rural Development and Cabinet Secretariat as parties.
The petition has also opposed the continuation and re-promulgation of ordinances saying that in a democratic process, people cannot be governed by laws made by the Executive.