ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fair Compensation

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The article by V Krishna Ananth (“Singur Case and the Idea of Justice,” EPW, 17 September 2016) raises some relevant questions regarding the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The apprehensions of the writer seem valid that the Singur case judgment was in favour of the peasants only because the judges felt that the procedure established under law was not followed; it was not to acknowledge the peasants’ rights over their land.

Apart from the fact that the concept of “public purpose” is being distorted to include the private sector, there are some other aspects that need to be reflected on. The power of the state has increased due to acquisition laws, which, most of the time, have been in favour of the private sector. This reflects on the nature of the state as well as the exploitation of land as a resource by the state in alliance with the private sector. Acquisitions often have been forceful, leading to protests and riots. It may be true to a certain extent that the new law could not go beyond the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 at many levels, but, despite all these facts, it can be argued that the new law has added to the power of the landowners.

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