Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has dismissed a petition seeking right over 64 out of 219 Kanals of government land which were fraudulently transferred by revenue officials by misuse of their official position in connivance with a person.
A single bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey has also directed government to undo the wrong admittedly committed by the revenue officials—erstwhile Tehsildar, Jammu and concerned Patrwari—in 2005.
Besides, the court also directed police to protect and secure the land at Deeli in Jammu from any encroachments.
The directions were passed by court on a petition filed by one Kanta Gupta through her counsel, claiming to be owner and in possession of the 64 Kanals of land at Deeli Jammu.
As per the averments in the petition, she had purchased 34 Kanals from one Charan Dass son of Lekh Raj of Gadigarh, Jammu, through his attorney Baldev Singh on May 16, 2005.
On the same date, as per the averments, she purchased 14 Kanals of land from one Paras Ram son of Dayal Chand of Gadigarh, Jammu through his attorney (again Baldev Singh) and 16 Kanals from one Janak Singh son of Prithvi Singh of Jandial, Iabat Bhalwal Jammu, also through Baldev Singh.
Gupta further claimed that the land had vested in the erstwhile owners from whom she purchased after it was allotted in their favour by Government (vide order no.254 of 1965) on July 7, 1965 under Allotment of Land to Displaced Persons Rules, 1954.
“Thus ownership rights had been conferred on the erstwhile owners thereof,” she had said.
It is also submitted in the petition that on purchase of the land and taking its possession, she became the absolute owner of the land and, consequently, mutations, too, were attested in her favour.
Sometime back, she said, Revenue Authorities-cum-officials along with police appeared on the site of the land and started joining issue with her about her title over the land.
Accordingly, she filed the writ petition, seeking directions to enjoy rights over it.
On the other hand, the official respondents said that the then Tehsildar, Jammu, without any authority of law or power, has conferred proprietary rights on State land measuring 219 Kanals and one Marla in favour of seven displaced persons by attesting mutation (no. 3929) of village Deeli in connivance with the Patwari and Baldev Singh, who is also stated to be the power of attorney holder of the allottees.
The officials also submitted that the matter was investigated by the Vigilance Organization and a chargesheet for the commission of offences under Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B RPC stands filed before the court of competent jurisdiction against the then Tehsildar, Jammu, Patwari, Deeli and Baldev Singh.
They further said that the Joint Settlement Commissioner J&K, vide his report on March 22, 2010 has also recommended to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue) to set aside the mutation.
“Before parting, I deem it relevant to mention here that (government) do not seem to have taken any steps to undo the wrong which is stated to have been committed under a criminal conspiracy, though the Joint Settlement Commissioner, Jammu, has already made a recommendation to that effect,” the court said.
Referring to interim directions, the court said, the Station House Officer, Police Station Gangyal, has been directed to ensure that there was no encroachment on the land and that the police may pitch its tent at any convenient place in the land to ensure meaningful compliance its direction.
“It is made clear that dismissal of this writ petition would neither preclude the State and its concerned functionaries from undoing the wrong committed by the erstwhile Tehsildar, Jammu, nor relax the binding duty on the police concerned to protect and secure the land in question from any encroachments,” the court added.