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Though the 2013 Act aims at achieving a delicate balance between the interests of the various stakeholders, the new concepts introduced have raised new concerns and a question still remains as to how several of these laudatory measures will be implemented.
Introduction and brief legislative history
The Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (1894 Act) was always a matter of controversy. One of the biggest lacunae in the 1894 Act was the protection of the interests of the affected persons. Consequences such as displacement and loss of livelihood were not contemplated. Although the Ministry of Rural Development in 2007 formulated a National Rehabilitation & Resettlement Policy (NRRP) to address these concerns, to create enforceable obligations, requirements for rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R), legislation was needed. Separate bills for R&R and amendments to the 1894 Act were introduced in Parliament but lapsed before they were passed.
In 2011, the Supreme Court observed that "the provision contained in Act1 have been felt by all concerned, do not adequately protect the interest of the land owners/persons interested in the land. The Act does not provide for rehabilitation of persons displaced from their land although by such compulsory acquisition, their livelihood gets affected To say the least, the Act has become outdated and needs to be replaced at the earliest by fair, reasonable and rational enactment in tune with the constitutional provisions."
The single bill was passed by both houses of Parliament in 2013 and was notified as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (2013 Act) on September 27, 2013, thereby repealing the 1894 Act.
Issues and Lacunae in the 1894 Act and how they were addressed in the 2013 Act
Challenges and Criticisms
While the 2013 Act has sought to remedy the failings of the 1894 Act, certain concerns still remain or have arisen out of new concepts introduced. Some of these are:
This article has been authored by Aakanksha Joshi, who is an Associate Partner and Tarini Menezes, who is an Associate at Economic Laws Practice (ELP), Advocates & Solicitors. The information provided in the article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal opinion or advice.