Plea seeking digitization of revenue records
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: In the much publicised Public Interest Litigation (PIL No. 19/ 2011) highlighting encroachment of more than 20 lakh Kanals of State Land in J&K by a section of Bureaucrats, Police Officers and Politicians in league with land mafia, a Division Bench of J&K High Court (through video conferencing) comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and First Puisne Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal after hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for PIL whereas Senior AAG S S Nanda for UT Administration and a battery of Advocates directed personal appearance of Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Shaleen Kabra (IAS) on next date of hearing i.e., November, 26, 2020 at 02:00 PM.The Division Bench has summoned Financial Commissioner (Revenue) in Civil Miscellaneous Application Nos. 4518/2020 and 4519/2020 in PIL No.19/2011 pertaining to issue of digitisation of land records of J&K raised by an applicant through Advocate Himanshu Beotra.Advocate S S Ahmed, appearing for the PIL, submitted that the status report which was required to be filed by Financial Commissioner (Revenue) regarding the digitisation of revenue records has not been filed. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that serious steps are required to be taken by UT Government for ensuring digitisation of revenue records, so that revenue records are streamlined and properly maintained leaving no room for irregularities.At this stage Senior AAG S S Nanda appearing for Revenue Department submitted that report could not be filed as Dr Pawan Kotwal (IAS) had been transferred from post of Financial Commissioner (Revenue) and in his place Shaleen Kabra (IAS) has taken over as new Financial Commissioner (Revenue) and status report will be filed without any further loss of time.Looking into the seriousness of the matter, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal observed that security of the digitisation as well as the land records has to be imperatively ensured and it also has to be ensured that the complete information is put in the public domain and no official is able to withhold the record. The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal further observed and directed, “Given the kind of illegalities which have been placed before this Court, the manner in which respondents are functioning and the fact that no firm steps have been taken till date with regard to digitisation of land records, even though we are assured on every date that the process is underway, it would appear that it is essential to have the proceedings to be scrutinized by person who is conversant with the manner in which the official land records are scanned, maintained and digitized. It is, therefore, essential to have an independent inspection of the work being undertaken. Let the parties suggest names of persons suitable as local commissioner who can conduct such scrutiny and inspection on regular basis.”With these observations, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal directed personal appearance of Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Shaleen Kabra (IAS) on the next date of hearing i.e., November, 26, 2020 at 02:00 PM through virtual mode.
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