Haryana enacts law to validate de-licensing of land

Haryana governor SD Arya has assented to the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas (second amendment and validation) Bill, 2020 passed by the assembly on August 26 to legitimise de-licensing of land with retrospective effect (January 30,1975). A notification in this regard was issued on September 14 by the law secretary.

The newly enacted validation law has come as a major relief to the developers of the Gurgaon-based Ambience Mall and other cases involving de-licensing of land. The Punjab and Haryana high court had on July 10 quashed the town and country planning department’s October 18, 2001 and September 1, 2010 orders to de-license two chunks of land (8 acres and 3.9 acres) of the 18.98 acres approved for constructing the Ambience Lagoon Island residential complex. It allowed raising a commercial complex, the Ambience Mall, on de-licensed land. The CBI, on HC orders, had also registered a criminal case in the matter.

More than 54 cases of de-licensing of land were also discovered by the department after the high court orders.

The HC had termed the term de-licensing a misnomer in the context of the Act and the case at hand. The bench said that state counsel had admitted that there was no such provision in the Act. The court also said the department’s argument that clause 21 of the General Clauses Act, which gives power to grant a licence also contains implied power to de-license, was bereft of any merit or logic.

During the one-day monsoon session around three weeks ago, the state assembly had passed the Bill thereby approving insertion of a new clause section 3 (a) in the Act which would give the power to add to, amend, vary, suspend, withdraw or rescind, license or notification, order, rule or direction or to de-license, from retrospective effect.

The Bill also contained a significant validation clause which said that notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of any court or tribunal or any authority, any action taken or orders issued, things done or purporting to have been taken or done relating to sub section 3(a) of sections 3 by the director, before the commencement of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas (amendment and validation) Act, 2020, shall be deemed to be as valid and effective as if such action, approval, orders were issued or action taken in accordance with its provisions.

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