Holding that the legislature has powers to bring in laws with retrospective effect, the SC upheld the constitutional validity of the Tamil Nadu Land Acquisition (Revival of Operation, Amendment and Validation) Act, 2019, which was applied retrospectively from 2013.
A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari dismissed a batch of petitions filed by landowners challenging the validity of the legislation on the ground that it was brought to revive a 2013 law which was declared unconstitutional by the Madras High Court and to validate all acquisitions after 2013 which the HC quashed.
The petitioners alleged that the legislative tool adopted by the state legislature to revive "unconstitutional enactments" was a direct attempt to overrule and nullify the high court's July 2019 verdict, which had quashed all pending acquisition proceedings under three enactments on or after September 27, 2013, and the same was impermissible in the constitutional scheme as it violates the doctrine of separation of powers.
The bench, however, said there was nothing wrong in applying law from retrospective date. The court further said that it emanates from the basic principle that a legislature is deemed to be the main protagonist of public interest at large. For, the legislature is the bulwark of a democratic polity. It is also beyond debate that a legislature can validate an invalidated law by removing the cause for such invalidity through a legislative exercise.
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