Thursday, August 9, 2007

Editorial LAW 31 July 2007


is it anyway? Legend runs through a melodic keertana (Ikshvaaku kula tilaka) that devotee Ramadas in his exasperation so rebuked Lord Rama himself. And it was the usual refrain of our late superstar-chief minister N.T. Rama Rao whenever he was irked by the arbitrary encroachments of the Central Government. This question needs to be repeated in the current context when lakhs of acres of lands are being bartered away by the governments in our country to private companies/persons for supposed industrial and other development in the name of public purpose, etc. The very concept and kanoon of treating all land not expressly owned by private citizens as government land, which is alien to the tradition and practice of our oriental economies that were abounding with self-governing village communities and a sort of social ownership of means of production, has to be condemned in no uncertain terms and governments have to limit themselves to being mere trustees of public properties. Rajas or Nawabs in our tradition were only entitled to some specific share of the produce of land. Apart from the general critique that "all property is theft," [Proudhon] which implies the inalienable right to possession and enjoyment in common of land, air, water and all other bounties of nature [Rousseau], it is all the more disgusting to see small owners/possessors divested of their entitlements by various mechanisms of law devolved from colonial times when governments were but usurpers of native possessions. Recently the AP High Court seems to have questioned, rightly at that, the propriety of such alienation of ‘government’ lands to private companies. The Land Acquisition Act, the Urban Land Ceiling Act, etc., which facilitate such loot of private/public properties to promote the fortunes of private industrialists and the more nauseating ‘new class’ of ruler-politician-bureaucrat dacoits, should be radically amended to exclude/bar such alienation/acquisition of public and private properties for the sake of private companies and speculators. §§§

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