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  • Author: Kanchi Kohli, Debayan Gupta
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: For the last two years, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has been in the eye of debate and discussed for the controversial changes the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had sought to bring about through ordinances. Even though fate of the amendments rests currently with the Joint Parliamentary Committee report, several states have already brought about changes through Rules under Section 109 of the Act. An examination of these state specific Rules reveals they are headed towards: Adopting the changes proposed in the ordinances amending the central law; Diluting the applicability of the progressive clauses like consent or SIA; Clarifying procedures for implementation at the state level. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had replaced the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 with the newly enacted RFCLARR Act, 2013. Though critiqued for expanding the definition of public purpose to include the private sector, the new legislations had been welcomed by social movements, farmers groups and NGOs. This is primarily for the need for a Social Impact Assessment (SIA), the requirement for prior consent, food security provisions and clear compensation related provisions. What was also central to this discussion were the clauses which allow for unused land to be returned to original owners. The Rules framed by the States aim to make the process of land acquisition much simpler for investors. While certain States reduce the time period for the conducting of the SIA process or do away with it in its entirety, there are others who make reductions in the compensation award or modify the applicability of the retrospective clause. There are also States which directly adopt the provisions in the ordinance that aim to remove the requirement for consent from the land acquisition procedure. This working paper paper attempts to trace and analyse how the state governments have modified and built upon the central Act. It also looks briefly at litigation that has emerged especially around the applicability of the retrospective clause of the law, ie. which requires the return of unused land to original owners or reinitiating processes under the 2013 law.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Law, Food Security, Land Law, Social Policy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Shibani Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: In October 2015, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released a Draft Environment Laws (Amendment) Bill 2015 proposing amendments to the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 and the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. The stated objective of the Bill is to provide ‘effective deterrent penal provisions’ and to introduce the concept of monetary penalty. It also aims ‘to minimise the exercise of discretion and make an unambiguous framework’. This paper summarises the text of the Bill and analyses whether it will complement the environmental objectives the parent laws espouse. It discusses some of the major concerns relating to the proposed amendments under three broad themes: environmental damage and penalties, adjudicating authorities and rule making powers. It concludes that although penalties that effectively deter violators are certainly the need of the hour, the proposed amendments are unlikely to achieve this objective.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Law Enforcement, Law, Legislation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Shibani Ghosh
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: The recent uproar about the toxic levels of pollution in the country’s national capital region has once again brought to fore the failure of the regulatory and legal mechanisms in India to control air pollution. Despite an early legislative acknowledgment of the issues relating to air pollution, and regulatory mechanisms set up consequently, India has not been able to restrict the sharp upward trajectory of air pollution. While several issues with regard to the legal and regulatory regime governing air quality in the country deserve serious and urgent consideration, this paper focuses on one issue in particular – the liability regime for violation of air quality standards. The paper is divided into three parts. The first part discusses the relevant provisions of the law pertaining to liability - civil and criminal - for causing air pollution. The second part identifies three critical issues that have emerged in the current liability regime: (1) the Pollution Control Boards do not have the power to levy penalties; (2) criminal prosecution is not an effective solution; and (3) the National Green Tribunal Act does not provide complete relief. The third and final part of the essay proposes a way forward. It is suggested that the Pollution Control Boards need to be granted additional enforcement powers, and administrative fines for violations should be introduced, albeit with certain conditions.
  • Topic: Environment, Health, Governance, Law Enforcement, Law, Reform, Pollution
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Asia
  • Author: Rajshree Chandra
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: With innovation in the genetic engineering now being rewarded in the form of intellectual property rights, there are new things that are beginning to count as property and as objects of human invention – plant varieties, seeds, germplasm, genetic sequences, DNA and so on. To bring the realm of “biology” within the ambit of intellectual property, to juridify aspects of the biological as products of human invention is to bring new epistemic objects into visibility. While these are revealed through practices of biotechnology, law translates it into a capacity for monopolistic appropriation for biotech innovators. The new correlatives of innovation and intellectual property re-engineer not just the biology of an organism, but the very categories that organized property and intellectual property. What instrumentalities of technology and law co-produce biotic property? I examine these instrumentalities in a two paper series: while the first paper seeks to lay out the work of technology in the creation of new biological artefacts, and consequently new economic spaces and property claims, the second paper would seek to examine the role of law in translating inventive claims as property claims.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Intellectual Property/Copyright, Law
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India, Global Focus