Madras High Court
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The Madras High Court on Monday reserved its order on the pleas challenging the amendments made by the Tamil Nadu State Government to its Land Acquisition Act, bypassing the Central one enacted in 2013. The Government bought amendments by order dated January 21,2014that enabled acquisition of lands for certain purposes under the state Act.

The Central Government enacted the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act in 2013.

Alleging that the state had brought such amendments only to bypass and deny benefits to the victims guaranteed under the Central Act, that too without any authority, an outfit ‘Anaithu Vivasayikal Paathukapu Nalasangam Naganenthal’ and few other landowners approached the court.

During the hearing, P Wilson, senior counsel for the petitioners, submitted that the state brought in amendments fearing financial burden in view of the changes brought in by the Central legislation.

As a result, land acquired for various projects, including metro rail, should also be put to scrutiny, he said and wanted the court to declare the amendments unconstitutional and void.

Earlier, while following the Court decision, the Tamil Nadu Government gave its approval to revise property tax in urban local bodies of the state. The GCC [Greater Chennai Corporation], 11 other municipal corporations, 124 municipalities and 528 town Panchayats coming under the vicinity of these urban local bodies will have revised property rates in effect from the mid of the current year.

The Tamil Nadu State Government also passed a bill for introducing the Land pooling Policy which will make property buying an easy and budget-friendly procedure as the acquisition of private land has become hugely expensive particularly after the implementation of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

The Land Pooling Policy will be framed as Area Development Scheme for both housing and infrastructure projects. The landowners will be the stakeholders in the new endowment in the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act under which the partial piece of landowners’ land will be developed and returned respectively.