STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: A Division Bench of the J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar impleaded R B Educational Trust as Party Respondent in the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting encroachment of 20 lakh Kanal of State Land in J&K by politicians/ bureaucrats/police officers in connivance with Land Mafia. While allowing an application filed by Kanta Andotra, wife of Ex-MP Ch. Lal Singh and Chairperson of RB Educational Trust, Kathua, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal after hearing Sr. Advocate P.N. Raina with Advocates Asheesh Singh Kotwal and J.A. Hamal appearing for RB Educational Trust through virtual mode whereas Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Sheikh Najeeb Ashraf and Mohd. Zulkarnain Chowdhary appearing for the petitioner granted three weeks time to the newly impleaded respondent to file counter affidavit to the writ petition. The Division Bench after considering the submissions of Sr. Advocate P. N. Raina assisted by Advocates Asheesh Singh Kotwal and J.A. Hamal issued notice to the petitioner which was accepted through virtual mode by Advocate S. S. Ahmed who resisted the prayer made in the application on the ground that RB Educational Trust is not required to be heard in this PIL. The Division Bench however, allowed the prayer, made in the application and impleaded the RB Educational Trust as Respondent No. 18 in the instant PIL on the ground that RB Educational Trust is a necessary party. The petitioner on May 5th, 2015 had filed a miscellaneous application in PIL No. 19/2011 seeking directions to the GAD, Commissioner/Secretary Revenue, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Deputy Commissioner, Kathua and AC(R), Kathua to retrieve excess land from RB Educational Trust as the aforesaid Trust is having land measuring 316 Kanals and 17 Marlas situated at village Karandi Khurd Tehsil Hiranagar now falling in Tehsil Marheen contrary to the ceiling prescribed under Section 2 (1) read with section 14 J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976. The said application also sought direction against the Government of J&K to take disciplinary/departmental action against S.P. Rakwal (KAS), the then Assistant Commissioner (Revenue), Kathua who abused his official position for extraneous considerations just to confer undue benefit upon RB Educational Trust and deliberately delayed the matter and later was rewarded with a posting in the Personal Section of Ch. Lal Singh then Health Minister as his OSD who is the ultimate beneficiary of the land owned and possessed by RB Educational Trust. In the instant PIL both the Divisional Commissioner Jammu as well as Kashmir have filed voluminous compilations confirming therein the encroachment of 20 lakh Kanals of the state land in J&K and the compilations also contain the District-Wise encroachments with full particulars of the illegal occupants. The Division Bench has time and again issued directions to the Government of J&K to come out with a mechanism so that the encroached state land is retrieved from the Land Mafia, however, so far only poor and nomads have been targeted whereas the sharks have been spared.
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