Follow laws banning agri land conversion ‘faithfully’: HC to DCs

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed all Deputy Commissioners to “faithfully” follow statutory provisions and its directions banning conversion of agriculture land in the state.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad also directed Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to ensure removal of encroachment from ‘khacharie (pasture land).
“All the Deputy Commissioners are directed to faithfully comply with the statutory provisions and directions of the Court issued from time to time,” the court said and asked them file fresh status report as it posted the PIL—Human Watch (Regd) International Vs State & others—in the week commencing December 15.
The court has already passed slew of directions for implementing the Land Revenue Act, Agrarian Reforms Act, J&K Alienation of the Land Act and other applicable Acts.
The Acts, the court observed, empower the Revenue authorities to stop the conversion of the land for other uses such as construction of houses etc. and take action against the violators.
The court also granted two weeks time to Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, to file an affidavit in response to observations made by it in orders on December 12, 2012 and April 1 last year.
The time was granted after government Shuja-ul-Haq submitted that the Commissioner Secretary could not file the affidavit because of the recent flood.
“In ease of default, the Commissioner Secretary (shall) appear in person before the Court, on next date, to explain his conduct,” the court said.
On December 12, 2012, the division bench, then headed by Chief Justice M M Kumar, had asked government to explore the possibility by bringing out some plans in the adjoining area of the city of Srinagar to address the increasing demand for residential place. On April 1 last year, the court had reiterated the order.
In another direction, the court directed that the issue regarding removal of the khacharie land shall be part of the PIL henceforth.
“Divisional Commissioner Kashmir is directed to ensure implementation of the statutory provisions regarding removal of encroachment from khacharie land and ensure that directions of the Supreme Court and this Court issued in various writ petitions are implemented.”
The Divisional Commissioner, court said, shall be personally responsible to seek implementation of the provisions of the statute and court directions.
“The Divisional Commissioner to file compliance report about the directions before the next date (of hearing).”
In yet another direction, the court directed Deputy Commissioner Budgam, and Tehsildar Kanipora to implement the provisions of J&K Brick Kilns Regulations Act, 2010 and J&K Brick Kilns Regulations, Rules, 2011.
The directions were issued on a plea seeking direction to the government to take immediate steps for stopping the establishment of brick kiln in agriculture and orchards of Brarigund Chadoora in the central Budgam district.
“(DC) Budgam and the Tehsildar are directed to ensure that there is no violation of any statute or court orders,” the bench said and directed both the authorities to file compliance report before the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, the court also directed the Tehsildar Budgam and Tehsildar (South) Srinagar to file compliance report regarding demarcation of Numbal Narkara as directed on June 30.
“Prima facie, it appears that (they have) violated the Court orders. However, before proceeding against (them, they are) given one final opportunity to comply with the order dated June 30, 2014 and file Compliance Report before next date.”
In case the compliance report is not, the court directed both the tehsildars to appear in person before the Court on next date of hearing.
On June 30, they were directed to get the demarcation conducted personal supervision and report compliance.