The Immovable Property (amendment) bill 2017

Property stands out to be one of the main assets accomplished by any person in his lifetime. Properties are generally transferred to generations being followed. The same property can be acquired by the government in some cases for the sole purpose of development of the country and strengthening the defence and security provisions of the country. As the property is an immovable commodity the compensation of the same is a question of great interest, especially in case of the property being a home to a family or the property being the source of earning a livelihood. The major ACT issued in order to provide the owners with relief and facilities for the benefit of both the government and the owner was passed in 1952 under the name Requisition and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act.

The ACT was originally issued in order to protect the interests of the landlords and the government, post-independence when the distribution of land was not proportional and the landlords suffered huge losses due to the circumstantial changes in the formation of a new nation and the shifting of power under the newly established democracy. To monitor the powers of the government and also safeguard the rights of the people who own certain piece of property, which were being harassed by the government officials for personal interests the act of Acquisition and Requisition of Immovable Property was passed building a set of rules and limits to be followed in order to acquire some property and also provide a fair and just compensation to the owner to minimise the loss.

According to the original passed ACT, Section 3 of the Act deals with the power to requisition immovable property, whereas the section 7 covers the power to acquire the requisitioned property. Section8 and 9 deals with the principles and methods of compensation and payment modes that have are meant to be provided to the owner whose property has been requisitioned and compensation for the same has to be made. People have complained about the instances where the interest rate for the property was not made according to the rules laid down by the act and also there have not been adequate hearing of the cases filed against the unfair compensation and challenging the notice of acquisition by the competent authorities. However, after prolonged litigation traversing up to the Apex Court, if the interested persons succeed in getting a notice of acquisition quashed, they would be bestowed with the unintended benefit of compensation for their property as on the date of publication of fresh notice of acquisition. The compensation rate shows a hike with respect to the astronomical increase in the market value of property between the original date of publication of notice of acquisition and the present date of publication of the same.

Recently the original Act of the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property, issued in 1952 was proposed its 12th amendment for regulating the Governing compensation amount payable at the time of the acquisition of immovable property by the central government was introduced by the Minister of State for Planning, Programme Implementation and Statistics Rao Inderjit Singh. It was introduced by M Venkaiah Naidu, on 18th July 2017 and was passed by the Lok Sabha on 20thDecember, 2017.

The bill also seeks to amend a section of the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act to “enable the central government to re-issue the notice of acquisition to the owner or such other person interested in the property, for the purpose of giving (an) opportunity of being heard”. The owner or the person interested in the property would also be entitled to annual rate of interest — prevalent at any relevant time on the compensation payable — from the date of publishing the first notice till payment of the final compensation.

The above statement allows the central government to re-issue the notice of acquisition in order to ensure that the property’s owner gets an opportunity to be heard in the court under the respective authority to get the appropriate compensation amount as it is the duty of the government to pay fair and just compensation for the acquired land.

Further, it is proposed that any enhanced compensation with or without interest awarded by the court or other authority, before the date of commencement of the proposed amendment, shall be subject to the reissuance of the proposed notice of acquisition and shall be applicable only to the cases of property being acquired for national security and defence purpose.

The Representation of the Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017 is hoped to bring a significant reform in the exercise of the Right to Property, which is a constitutional right, as it will make the acquisition of the immovable property hassle free and provide fair and just compensation to the owner. The amendment in the bill is significant, as it has been done in the interest of the security of the nation. It will help corrupt element from taking undue advantage by misusing the litigation process. As discussed above, if these possible drawbacks will not be monitored, controlled or terminated, the main purpose of the Representation of the Immovable Property (Amendment) Bill, 2017 will turn out to be futile and can further lead to the fair opportunity to the owners for gaining an appropriate compensation.

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