Dholera and the Myth of Voluntary Land Pooling
-Preeti Sampat and Simi Sunny
Land pooling is being increasingly promoted as a mechanism for land consolidation, especially for Greenfield urbanisation projects. In Dholera smart city along the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor, the mechanism is enabled under the Gujarat Town Planning and Urban Development Act 1976. In this paper we analyse this law's procedures; its provisions for public consultation, participation and compensation; its colonial and post-colonial antecedents; and the jurisprudence around it. We find that the GTPUDA is grossly inadequate, significantly in establishing the consent of landowners, and in addressing the range of dispossessions that the Dholera project engenders.
The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project: The Issue of Resettlement and Rehabilitation
The paper is a critical analysis of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development project in Ahmedabad. It scrutinises the manner in which the judicial and administrative dimensions bolstering its implementation obliterated the fundamental and human rights of the families residing on the banks of the river. The paper highlights the abysmal resettlement provided to the informal settlers and the politics that fragmented the social relations of communities residing at the riverfront. Further, it emphasises on the need for an inclusive resettlement and rehabilitation framework that engages with the concerns of all stakeholders and prevents marginalisation of the urban poor in the process of infrastructural development. The paper concludes with a set of policy recommendations to make development an inclusive process that curbs the existing indifference towards developmental refugees.
The evolution of a separate groundwater law in India is a relatively new development. This development marks a shift from the dated common law rule that recognises the uncontrolled right of landowners over groundwater, which perpetuated gross inequity in accessing groundwater by restricting access only to landowners. In this context, framing of new groundwater laws is seen as a key step towards addressing the aggravating problems of depletion and contamination of groundwater along with eliminating inequity in accessing groundwater. Access to groundwater is also directly related to the realisation of the right to water because groundwater is the most important source for drinking and other domestic purposes. Therefore, a legal framework ensuring sustainable use of, and equitable access to, groundwater will have tremendous impact and influence on the effective realisation of the right to water in the Indian context. In this background, this article examines the capacity of the existing and evolving groundwater law in India to ensure equity, sustainability and realisation of the right to water. This article also highlights the gaps in the existing legal framework in this regard and suggests basic principles, norms and approaches that should form the underlying elements of the groundwater legal regime to make it capable of ensuring sustainability, equity and human rights.
The paper traces the concept of environmental citizenship in India’s forests through the existing legal framework which is influenced by the movement for forest rights. I argue that the notion of environmental citizenship is contested given the presence of multiple actors and interests over natural resources in our forests. This contestation I present is heightened by the emerging idea of corporate citizenship where corporations assume the role of arbiters of citizenship rights in the absence of the state. It is within this frame of environmental citizenship and its inter-relationship with corporate citizenship that I analyse the changes proposed by the present government to our environmental laws. I conclude that the existing notion of environmental citizenship is fundamentally altered by these proposed changes primarily by the decreased participation of forest dwelling communities in decision making which is being positioned as a hurdle in the exploitation of resources, which in turn impacts the relationship between the environment, the citizen and democracy in India’s forests.
The status of the cow in India has not only been the object of academic debates, but also of fierce and impassionate legislative and judicial battles. These disputes have notably crystalized over the admissibility of ritual sacrifice of cows by Muslim practitioners for the holiday of Bakr-Id, with the issue reaching the courts on several occasions. This paper explores the terms of this legal debate, and the solutions that have been progressively adopted by the legislative and judicial institutions after the independence. Particular attention will be paid to the processes involved in the apprehension of the religious justification of this practice by the judiciary. Eventually, the Indian legal system has failed at acknowledging the importance and the complexity of the Muslim minority’s ecological beliefs and traditions in this long-standing dispute.