Private property expropriation procedure to be simplified in Georgia
If your property is located in the area of public importance, the government will be entitled to expropriate it through a simplified procedure.
That will be the case if the parliament approves the government’s initiated new legal package.
The present-day legislation already allows the government’s expropriation of private property for public purposes, though the new regulations will further simplify this procedure.
An involuntary resettlement procedure will be introduced, which implies expropriation of owner’s property [expropriation-the government’s one-time right to take a privately owned property that is deemed necessary for public needs upon payment of relevant compensation –JAMnews] under the court ruling, ‘under the condition of advance payment of fair and full compensation,’ the government’s explanatory note reads.
However, despite this record, the bill obviously puts the government in a privileged position. The government is entitled to evict a citizen from his/her owned house or a land plot and expropriate his/her property in exchange for compensation, on the basis of the first instance court ruling, using the police forces. Whereas in case, there is no house on the land plot, a citizen can be expropriated it in a shorter period of time, within 2 weeks.
Although an individual, whose property has been subjected to expropriation, is entitled to file a claim with the court of other instances, the only thing he/she can demand is to increase the amount of compensation. He/she will not be restituted former property.
As it is pointed out in the explanatory note, enclosed with the bill that has been submitted to the Parliament, the need for introduction of such regulations was conditioned by the fact that the legal shortcomings in the current legislation seriously hampered the expropriation process, obstructing timely implementation of projects and execution of works of national importance.
Some NGOs and lawyers believe that the aforesaid bill violates the citizens’ constitutional rights.
The Parliament hasn’t started working on the bill yet. Whether the lawmakers have any remarks or not is unknown so far. However, given that the bill has been initiated by the government and the ruling team enjoys a constitutional majority in Parliament, adoption of this bill won’t be a problem.
If passed by Parliament, the law will bring changes in the process of construction of Khudoni HPP, which is one of the most high-profile projects. Experts believe that those tough and disputable regulations enshrined in the bill are related to construction of Khudoni HPP.
Trans Electrica Company has been trying in vain for already 5 years to carry out the construction of US$1billion worth hydro-power plant on the Enguri River. The company was expected to launch the construction works as early as in 2014. However, the project couldn’t be carried out due to the problems with the local population and the lack of funding. Construction of the HPP implies submerging Khudoni village under water. Whereas a new law will allow the government to involuntarily resettle the village population.