Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has allowed a bunch of petitions in so far as prayer for declaring the acquisition proceedings initiated with respect to 156.2 kanals of land for Sainik Colony at Jammu “as having lapsed”.
However, a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey rejected plea for demolition of superstructures existing on the land, observing that civil suits are pending regarding the subject.
On January 11, 2003, Sainik Cooperative House Building Society Ltd Jammu through its Chairman, made an application before the Collector, Deputy Commissioner Jammu, stating that the Government pursuant to notification (no. RD 33 of 1970 dated 16.03.1970 read with notification no. RD-204 of 1990 issued under endorsement no. Ref. Rev(LAB) 62/88 dated 03.12.1990 and notification I .A/747-48 dated 19.12.1973) had acquired about 510 acres of land in villages Sunjwan and Chowadi in Jammu district for the Society for setting up colony for about 4000 families of defence personnel, and handed over the land to it.
In the application, the Society claimed that all the adjoining Khasra numbers were included in the notification issued by the Government but due ‘inadvertence’, numbers—772 and 773—were left over.
The Society stated that since 1971, after taking over the possession of the land, it leveled the land, constructed roads, culverts, raised buttress walls, developed plots and allotted them to its members which include the two Khasra numbers. It further stated that even houses and plinths have been raised on the land in question.
On account of overall development around the area, certain “land grabbers” are claiming ownership of the land comprised in these two Khasra nos. 772 and 773 on the plea that the same was not awarded to the Society and, thereby are trying to encroach upon the land of the Society in connivance with the revenue officials and police, which has given rise to tension on the spot.
The Society, accordingly, requested the Collector, Deputy Commissioner Jammu that the land be acquired in accordance with law for “public purpose” and directing the Revenue Officer of the concerned Halqa not to enter any mutation or issue any fard with regard to Khasra (No.772 and 733).
The claims and the prayers made in the application were contested by several persons, namely, Amrik Singh, Shanker Singh Kuldip Singh, Major Apil Khajuria, Sunil Khajuria, his mother and sisters etc. However, on the consent of the private parties, claiming ownership of the land, the Deputy Commissioner accepted the application with a direction to Collector Land Acquisition, Assistant Commissioner (R) Jammu, to acquire the land.
A notification was issued on May 31, -2006 but before declaring the land under Section 6 of the State Land Acquisition Act, one Kuldeep Singh approached the court, claiming that his 60 kanals of land have been acquired by the government and prayed for directions to the concerned authorities to complete acquisition proceedings and pass final award as early as possible.
The petition was disposed of by the court with direction to the concerned authority to complete the land acquisition process within three months.
Subsequently, in 2007, six members claiming to be the members of the Society, filed a writ petition, challenging the acquisition proceedings of 156.2 kanals of land with the claim that it stands already acquired by the Society and was in its possession for decades.
During the pendency of the petition by the six members, Kuldeep Singh filed yet another petition, seeking quashing of notification (dated 2-6-2006) by the collector on the ground that respondents have failed to complete acquisition proceedings within two years as provided under rules.
However both petitions were dismissed with court on 17-3-2010, observing that the six persons have no right to challenge acquisition proceedings because they are claiming it through the society. Kuldeep’s plea was rejected with the observation the concerned official could not take the acquisition proceedings to logical conclusion due to interim directions passed by the court. However, court directed completion of the acquisition process within six weeks.
After the court order dated 17-3-2010, the Deputy Commissioner Jammu addressed a communication to the Society, requesting it to deposit Rs 36, 01, 80,000 in his office within 10 days.
The Society filed another petition (OWP no 78/2011), seeking quashment of notification on 25-5-2007 issued under section 6 and 7 of the State land Accusation Act.
In the meantime, Kuldeep Singh filed another petition (OWP 14/2011) seeking relief of declaring acquisition proceedings as having lapsed.
A number of other petitions (OWP no 185/2011, 588/2011, OWP 487/2013 and OWP 1554) were filed by other persons claiming to be owners of the parcels of 156.2 kanals of land and sought identical relief.
Another petition (OWP no.449/2010) has been filed with, among others, the prayer that respondents be directed to demolish all the superstructures exiting in survey nos. 772-min and 773-min. it also seeking direction to the Government to remove the Electric Sub-station with all its infrastructure from the land in survey no.772.
The court partly allowed the writ petition nos 14/2011, 185/2011, 588/2011, 487/2013 and 1554/2013 to the extent of declaring acquisition process as having lapsed.
However, the court declined to direct respondents to demolish the structures because of the pendency of civil suits and it accordingly, dimissed the petition (449/2010) filed by Kuldeep Singh.
Similarly, the court also dismissed the petition(78/2011) filed by the society, holding it to be without merit.