New Delhi: The first meeting of the Group of Ministers on the controversial Land Acquisition Bill Thursday heard a strong demand by some members for retaining a window of retrospective application which was done away with earlier.
The meeting of the GoM, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, discussed theadbare the newly-included contentious clause of prospectivity in the Bill and a question of Rehabilitation and Resettlement package on par with the Land Acquisition bill for the affected parties in the mineral-rich forest areas.
"There was a strong view expressed that we must have a window of retrospectivity. There was also a view that the Bill shall apply prospectively only," a source familiar with what transpired at the meeting said.
Considering the protest from the industries and other infrastructure Ministries, the Rural Development Ministry has said it has made changes in the controversial clause which had said that the Bill would apply retrospectively.
According to this clause, the Bill would be applicable to all cases of land acquisition before the date of commencement of the Act if the award under the 1894 Act has not been made. The Ministry had made changes in this clause, which said
that the "Bill shall apply prospectively only, i.E., for new acquisition only, and not retrospectively".
"There was a discussion on schedule IV of the Bill (which says about the mineral-rich forest areas dominated by tribals). Some of them (ministers) said the Act should not be there in scheduled IV but others felt the Act should be applicable in the schedule IV and remain," the source said.
A Minister, who supported the provision, said on condition of anonymity "the Bill already says the central government can by notification give the compensation and Relief and Rehabilitation of those in the fourth schedule on par with the Land Acquisition Bill."
Talking to reporters, Pawar said a final decision is expected to be taken in its next meeting.
"We will decide next time. This week, I am going to Vietnam and I will be back on October 4. After that, we will meet. Three members gave their views. No decision happened Thursday," the GoM Chairman said.