December 20, 2017
Kalyan Banerjee speaks on The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017
Hon Deputy Speaker Sir, the Bill which has been introduced today and is being discussed is The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017, where an amendment has been sought to be made in Section 7 under (1A) where a reasonable opportunity of hearing is being given, which was not there earlier. This is really filling up the gaps. This is commensurate with the principle of social justice and I have no objection there. It is really beneficial for the person who is going to be affected.
Now I want to tell you about the Act, what has been achieved over the years. Sir, if we go back to the history of the Act itself, previously, the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952 was there. The Defence of India Act was not required after independence, because of which the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act, 1952 was brought. Initial intention of the legislature at that point of time, whether for the time being a premises can be requisitioned.
As you know requisition cannot continue till the doomsday. So, one has to take a decision whether he wants to release from the requisition or acquisition has to be taken. There are number of cases are there where the acquisition proceeding was taken up but it was not ended; no compensation has been paid because of the failure of the officials of the Central Government. So many acquisitions and requisitions have been declared illegal and void.
Time has been spent to take a decision whether you want to continue – do you want to release it from the requisition, or do you want to acquire the property. If you wish to acquire the property, do it immediately, do not keep it for long. That is not happening, and as a result, the public exchequer is suffering. I can cite you a number of cases. In West Bengal alone, so far, in the districts of the Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, military buildings have been made and till now requisition has not been completed. There must be some procedural mistake.
Sir, the compensation which has been assigned under The Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Bill that has been provided under Sec 8 of the Act. In substance, nothing has been said in the Act about the amount of the compensation, whether it would be an agreement or an arbitration. Therefore, the principle has not been laid down.
By reason of the passage of time, when the acquisition was a strong issue in our country, we brought the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. It is under consideration or we are implementing it.
Repealing the old Land Acquisition Act itself, where the compensation amount was exactly little. Under Section 26 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 you have given the principles of determination of the compensation. The object of the government is that every land user must get more compensation at market value; that is the object of the Act and the Central Government’s object is also that.
This is an old Act. Due to this Act itself the compensation amount can be decided so there must be a formula of paying compensation. It cannot be by an agreement or an arbitrator cannot decide exactly without any guidelines.
I am really happy to see that an opportunity of hearing, which is really common to the principles of natural justice, has been brought in here, which is a good thing. But you have to think about that in future that whether a parameteria provision akin to section 26 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, can be brought under this Act itself. One must know what should be the compensation at market value. It can be taken into consideration.
Secondly, I appeal to the hon minister to kindly give instructions to his department, where the requisition is continuing for 30-40years, it is not required. It can be acquired. Otherwise you just release it. There is no use of paying the money. There are some properties under requisition. Central Government is also not using the properties, but they are paying the money which is also a loss to the public exchequer. Kindly take it into the consideration in future.
This is my request to you. Thank you.