The land acquisition ordinance, which the government could not get converted into a legislation in Rajya Sabha due to stiff opposition, was on Friday re-promulgated, a day before it is to lapse.
President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the ordinance as recommended by the Union Cabinet on March 31, official sources said. The earlier ordinance is to lapse on Saturday as it has not been converted into a legislation during the first part of the budget session as required under the Constitution.
The fresh ordinance, which is the 11th by the Narendra Modi government, incorporates nine amendments that were part of the bill passed in Lok Sabha last month. It is pending before the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA coalition lacks the numbers to get it passed. The pending measure, titled Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, was passed in Lok Sabha, and sought to replace the ordinance that was promulgated in December.
The Opposition was not in a mood to oblige the government and, in fact, mounted a strong campaign against it. Led by Sonia Gandhi, the Opposition parties demanded the passage of the original land bill that was passed during the UPA regime. To enable re-promulgation of the ordinance, the government last week got the Rajya Sabha prorogued.
Under the Constitution at least one of the Houses has to be prorogued for Government to issue an ordinance. Parliament is currently on a month-long recess after the Budget session started on February 23.
The land ordinance was among the six executive orders issued by the government in the inter-session period. While five of them were cleared by Parliament, the land measure is stuck.