STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Division Bench (DB) of the State High Court comprising, Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal, issued directions to the Inspector General of Police, Jammu, Deputy Commissioners Jammu/ Samba and Vice Chairman JDA for carrying out the demarcation of 66,436 Kanals of JDA land in Jammu and Samba Districts in a speedy manner as per the schedule already fixed by the Bench.
The Divisional Bench had, in its order dated April 16, 2017, granted six months time to both Revenue department and JDA to complete the demarcation with regard to aforesaid land in Jammu and Samba Districts.
These significant directions were passed in a jam-packed court in the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting encroachment of more than 20 lakh Kanals of State land in J&K by the encroachers comprising politicians, bureaucrats, police officers and land mafia.
Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Suraj Singh, Rahul Raina and Supriya Singh Chouhan appearing for the PIL submitted that the Vice Chairman JDA has filed the detailed affidavit in compliance to court order dated May 23, 2017 read with order dated July 19, 2017 wherein it has been submitted that JDA has taken over the possession of 471 Kanals five Marlas of land in District Samba and 910 Kanal 13 Marlas in Jammu. However, the Revenue record is yet to be handed over by the respective Deputy Commissioners to the JDA. The affidavit of VC JDA further stated that though issue of demarcation has been taken up vigorously by the JDA with the Deputy Commissioner Jammu/ Samba, yet the progress achieved so far is very low, due to the reasons such as non availability of proper revenue record (Aks Masavi/ Latha) of large number of villages/locations, non-availability of revenue staff (Patwari/GO) as per schedule and the progress of demarcation achieved so far is far behind the schedule.
At this stage Advocate Adarsh Sharma appearing for JDA submitted that JDA requires additional manpower to carry out the demarcation work to complete the same as per the schedule fixed by this court.
Deputy Advocate General Ahsan Mirza appearing for Revenue Department however refuted the submissions of Advocate Adarsh Sharma and submitted that the demarcation so far carried out has been possible with the assistance of Revenue department only. He further submitted that till date no formal request for any documents / revenue records has been received from VC JDA by both the Deputy Commissioners. Deputy AG Ahsan Mirza further submitted that the Revenue department is extending full cooperation to the JDA in carrying out the directions of this court.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed at this stage submitted that the present petition is not adversarial in nature and the purpose is the retrieval of huge chunk of JDA land from land Mafia and thus the cooperation is expected from all the Government agencies and Advocate Ahmed also pointed out from the affidavit of VC JDA that the Senior Officers of JDA dealing with the matter are also required to be provided personal security for moving from one place to another in view of the threat perception from the land mafia.
Advocate Ahmed further submitted that VC JDA has stated that 1381 Kanals 18 Marlas land has been demarcated so far costing about approximately more than Rs. 500 crore.
After considering the rival submissions made by both the sides, the Division Bench directed that VC JDA shall apprise Deputy Commissioners Jammu/Samba about the requirement of man power and furnish the particulars of the revenue record of the Villages/locations which are needed by it and on receipt of the said communication, the revenue records as sought for by the VC JDA shall be supplied by the Revenue department within a period of two weeks from the date of the receipt of such communication.
Division Bench further directed that on receipt of the revenue record, the JDA shall ensure that the land which is demarcated and is free from encroachment is fenced again so as to prevent it from encroachment in future.
Division Bench further directed Inspector General of Police, Jammu to provide police protection to the officers of the JDA who are carrying out the demarcation work pursuant to the orders passed by this court. The Division Bench further directed that needless to state that the officers of JDA and officers of the revenue department shall work in coordination with each other and try to accomplish with work of demarcation within a time limit fixed by this court.
Division Bench on the request of Advocate S.S. Ahmed further issued directions to the Vice Chairman JDA to file an updated status report within four weeks specifying the progress of the demarcation.
Today Advocate S.S Ahmed also drew the attention of the Division Bench to a fresh miscellaneous petition filed by Satish Kumar Sharma, son of Mela Ram Sharma, resident of Rajpura Camp, Tehsil Marh (Jammu) seeking appropriate directions to the Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, SDM Marh and Tehsildar Marh to ensure retrieval of State land (Chenab River Bed) measuring 50 Kanals 18 Marlas falling under Khasra No. 482 situated at Village Rajpura, Patwar Halqa Panjore, Tehsil Marh.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed submitted that a prime piece of state land adjoining to MFP Forest Closure at Village Rajpura has been encroached by a powerful land mafia and despite the matter being brought to the notice of DC Jammu, SDM Marh and Tehsildar Marh no action has been taken and the applicant has been compelled to file the instant miscellaneous petition. After considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed the Division Bench granted two weeks time to Deputy AG Ahsan Mirza to file reply to the aforesaid miscellaneous petition. Similarly in an identical miscellaneous petition (MP No. 06/2017) the Division Bench after hearing Advocate Abhinav Sharma granted three weeks time to Deputy AG Ahsan Mirza to respond to the same.
In yet another miscellaneous petition the Division Bench after hearing Senior Advocate MK Bhardwaj with Advocate Yoshita Bhasin granted two weeks further time to Deputy AG to file his response in the matter.
Advocate Rameshwar Singh Jamwal highlighted that despite identification of the encroachers the JDA is not taking serious steps to evict them from the JDA land. He further submitted that the JDA is hand in glove with the encroachers and indulgence of the court is warranted. Advocate Adarsh Sharma appearing for JDA submitted that the area in question is adjoining to the State High Court and huge population has come up there and it is not possible to carry out such a massive demolition drive.
Division Bench after hearing the heated arguments from both the sides directed that appropriate orders on MP No. 857/2013 shall be passed on the next date of hearing.
In a fresh petition today highlighting encroachment of state land, Division Bench after hearing Advocate Ajay Bakshi issued notice to the various functionaries of the revenue department returnable within four weeks. This direction has been passed in a petition filed by Naib Sarpanch of village Nardi Bala and petitioner No.2 is the resident of village Nardi Bala, and he has also filed the application before the Deputy Commissioner Jammu on April 3, 2017 whereby complaining about the encroachment of State land by private respondents whereby the respondent No.2 i.e. SDM Akhnoor forwarded the application to respondent No.3 the respondent No.4 further forwarded the application to respondent No.5 whereby seeking the detail report from the respondent No.5 pertaining to allegation of encroachment of state land by the private respondents.
It is further submitted that the respondent No.5 i.e. Naib Tehsildar Maira Mandrian went on spot along with the revenue staff and demarcated the land as per the Taktima of land under Khasra No. 105 in presence of the private respondents even though prior notice was send to the private respondents by the respondent No.5 after the detailed investigation from the revenue record it was founded that the private respondents had encroached the state land under Khasra No. 105 whereby respondent No.6 had encroached 1 kanal and 4 ½ Marlas, another respondent had encroached 5 ½ Marlas, respondent No.8 had encroached 9 Marlas and respondent No.9 had encroached 16 Marlas of State land. The report has been submitted by the respondent No.5 to respondent No.4 and further the respondent no.4 directed the private respondents to remove the encroachment within a week’s time. The State land encroached by the private respondents was used by the inhabitants of village Nardi as common path and the land has been known as Ghair Mumkin Khad. The order passed by the respondent No.4 remain in papers and no action has been taken in view of the report submitted by the respondent no.5 and the respondent no.4 sit over the matter and did not take any action till date due to the political pressure.
Senior Advocate Surinder Kour with Advocate Manpreet Kour submitted that the petitioners have filed petition seeking regularization of land and the DB in view of the aforesaid submission delinked the said petition from the bunch of the petitions and directed its listing along with OWP No. 203/2016 on August 8, 2017.
Advocate Surjeet Singh Andotra also drew the attention of the Division Bench to order dated July 19, 2017 and submitted that the Divisional Commissioner Jammu has not filed the status report as directed by the Division Bench on the last date of hearing. On the request of Deputy AG Ahsan Mirza three weeks further time was extended to file the latest status report.
Division Bench looking into the public interest involved in the matter directed the registry to list this PIL immediately after four weeks.
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