Hyderabad: Overruling various objections by
Opposition parties and the demand that it be referred to a
select committee of the House, the Andhra Pradesh government
on Thursday enacted a legislation to further amend the Andhra
Pradesh Land Reforms (Ceiling on Agricultural Holdings) Act,
The amended legislation is aimed at "improving the
conditions of poor agriculturists and curbing the
concentration of land in the hands of a few people by taking
over the ceiling surplus land and distributing the same among
the landless poor," the government claimed.
The Opposition parties, however, cried foul and warned
the government that the amended law would lead to rise in
corruption besides leaving scope for misuse of the Land
The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen was the most vociferous
in its opposition to the "arbitrary and draconian"
legislation. "This law will open a Pandora`s box and let
corruption grow," MIM senior MLA Virasat Rasool Khan warned.
TDP legislator Palle Raghunatha Reddy said the existing
Land Reforms Act did not ensure any tangible benefits to the
Lok Satta Party member N Jayaprakash Narayan said the new
legislation was in principle good but the danger lay in
entrusting unbridled powers to the officials, leaving scope
for misuse. He suggested that there should be a two-stage
process to check misuse of the law and avoid unnecessary
Members also took strong exception to the suo moto powers
to re-open even age-old cases of land ceiling.
The CPI and the CPM legislators too, while welcoming the
legislation per se, apprehended that there could be scope for
its misuse. The government should ensure that this did not
happen. In voice, the Opposition parties demanded that the
Bill be referred to a select committee of the House for
Legislative Affairs D Sridhar Babu, deputing for Revenue
Minister N Raghuveera Reddy, maintained that proper procedures
would be followed in hearing any cases related to land ceiling
disputes. "Parties interested in the cases will be heard and
arbitrary decisions will not be taken by the authorities
concerned," he sought to assure the agitated Opposition
Sridhar Babu also said there was no need for referring
the Bill to a select committee as it was drafted after taking
expert opinion and legal advice.
The House then passed the legislation through voice vote.