RIGHT TO FAIR COMPENSATION AND TRANSPARENCY IN LAND ACQUISITION, REHABILITATION AND RESETTLEMENT ACT

History:

The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 was introduced in Lok Sabha on 7 September 2011. The bill was then passed by it on 29 August 2013 and by the Rajya Sabha on 4 September 2013.

The bill then received the assent of the President of India on 27 September 2013. It was Enacted by Parliament of India by giving Citation: No. 30 of 2013 and it was Signed on 27 September 2013.


Introduction:

The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 was the general law relating to acquisition of land for public purposes and also for companies and for determining the amount of compensation to be made on addressing certain issues related to the exercise of the statutory powers of the State on account of such acquisition. The provisions of the said Act have been found to be inadequate in involuntary acquisition of private land and property.

The Act did not address the issues of rehabilitation and resettlement to the affected persons and their families.


Aims And Objectives:

(1) The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation & Resettlement Act, 2013, as per its Preamble has been enacted with the aim to ensure, in consultation with institutions of local self-government and Gram Sabha established under the Constitution, a humane, participative, informed and transparent process for land acquisition for industrialization, development of essential infrastructural facilities and urbanization with the least disturbance to the owners of the land and other affected families.

(2) Provide just and fair compensation to the affected families whose land has been acquired or proposed to be acquired or are affected by such acquisition and make adequate provisions for such affected persons for their rehabilitation and resettlement and for ensuring that the cumulative outcome of compulsory acquisition should be that affected persons become partners in development leading to an improvement in their post acquisition social and economic status and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto

(3) The Act aims on land acquisition, as well as the rehabilitation and resettlement of those directly affected by the land acquisition. As per Section 2, the provisions of the Act relating to land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement is applicable when the appropriate Government acquires land for its own use, hold and control, including for Public Sector Undertaking and for public purpose.

(4) "Public Purpose" has been comprehensively defined, so that Government intervention in acquisition is limited to defence, certain development projects only. It has also been ensured that consent of at least 80 per cent of the project affected families is to be obtained through a prior informed process. Acquisition under urgency clause has also been limited for the purpose of national defence, security purposes and Rehabilitation and Resettlement needs in the event of emergencies of natural calamities only.

(5) To ensure a comprehensive compensation package for the land owners, a scientific method for calculation of the market value of the land has been given. Market value calculated will be multiplied by a factor of two in the rural areas.

Solatium (i.e. additional compensation for compulsory land acquisition) will also be increased upto 100 per cent of the total compensation.

Where land is acquired from urban areas, 20 percent of the deed land to the affected landowners.

(6) Comprehensive rehabilitation and resettlement package for land owners allowance, jobs, house, one acre of land of irrigation projects, rang and resettlement allowance is provided

Comprehensive rehabilitation and resettlement package for livebord losers in subsistence allowance, jobs, house, transportation allowance and resettlement allowance is provided.

(7) The benefits under the new law would be available in all the cases of land acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 where has not been made or possession of land has not been taken.

(8) Land that is not used within 10 years in accordance with the purposes for which it was acquired, shall be transferred to the State Government's Land Bank. Upon every transfer of land without development, 20 percent of the appreciated land value shall be shared with the original land owners

(9) The provisions of the new Act have been made fully compliant with other laws, such as Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas). Act, 1996, the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 and Land Transfer Regulations in Fifth Scheduled Areas (10) Stringent and comprehensive penalties, both for the companies, and Government in cases of false information, mala fide action and contravention of the provisions in the Act have been provided.

(11) The Act also provides for the basic minimum requirements that all projects leading to displacement must address. It contains a saving clause to enable the State Governments to continue to provide or put in place greater benefit levels than those prescribed under the Act.


The survey of the provisions of the Act shows that the Act provides for three distinct matters

1) acquisition of land,

2) just and fair compensation to the affected families, and

3) rehabilitation and resettlement of such affected persons. Under Article 300-A of the Constitution of India, no person can be deprived of his property save by authority of law. This Act, therefore, fulfills a constitutional obligation.

3) Scope: The Act has provisions to provide fair compensation to those whose land is taken away, brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories or buildings, infrastructural projects and assures rehabilitation of those affected.

4) Applicability of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 : It is applicable to the whole of India excluding Jammu And Kashmir.

5) Salient Features: The Wakf land will not be acquired under this law. The bill proposes benefits such as land for land, housing, employment and annuities that shall accrue in addition to the one-time cash payments for whose land is acquired.

No land can be acquired in Scheduled Areas without the consent of the Gram Sabhas and no one shall be dispossessed until and unless all payments are made and alternative sites for the resettlement and rehabilitation have been prepared.

The bill proposed to provide compensation to those who are dependent on the land being acquired, for their livelihood.

To safeguard food security and to prevent arbitrary acquisition, the bill directs states to impose limits on the area under agricultural cultivation that can be acquired.

In case land remains unutilised after acquisition, the new bill empowers states to return the land either to the owner or to the State Land Bank.

The new law clearly stipulates the pre-condition for acquisition of the land, which are: (1) For a private entity or a PPP project, state has to conduct a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), to identify the families who would be affected if land was acquired. (II) The private entity seeking land must then get the consent of 80 per cent of the affected families before it gets the government to acquire land for it. In the case of PPPs, the entity has to secure consent of 70 percent of affected families. (III) The third condition for getting possession of land acquired through state intervention is payment of compensation and fulfilling of Rehabilitation and Resettlement requirements.



This article is written by Neelkanth Vyas of Lords Universal College Of Law Mumbai.


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