SRINAGAR: The High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to take action in accordance with law for clearing over 650 kanals of kahcharie (pasture land) from encroachments in Zakuro, Gulab Bagh and Bhagat Shura areas on the outskirts of Srinagar.
Disposing of a petition filed by a person named Peer Noor-ul-Haq, a single bench of Justice Ramallingam Sudhakar directed the competent authority— Tehsildar Hazratbal Srinagar— to take action in the matter as soon as possible.
In his petition Peer had stated that the 650-kanal pasture land in these areas had been occupied by a land ‘mafia’ that claimed to be the owner of the land and had constructed permanent structures on it.
Peer cited a reply received through Right to Information Act as proof that the land was pasture land owned by the government.
The RTI reply revealed that 459 kanals of land as per the ‘Jamobandi’ 1954-60 and in 2010-11, situated at Zakura and Gulab Bagh, had been encroached upon. Another piece of pasture land of 194 kanals and 7 marlas at Estate Bhagat Shura Srinagar had also been occupied.
Peer said that he approached the revenue department for taking necessary action to evict the encroachers from the land. He complained to the court that the authorities failed to do their statutory duty. The inaction by the authorities prompted him to file a petition before the court to protect the precious state land.
In his plea, Peer urged the court to order revenue authorities to do their duty by evicting the land mafia from the pasture land they have illegally occupied. The court granted his plea.
“In view of the relief sought by the petitioner, Tehsildar Hazratbal Srinagar/ competent authority is directed to consider the nature of complaint filed by the petitioner and take action in the matter in accordance with law as expeditiously as possible,” the court said.
The Supreme Court in Jagpal Singh and others vs State of Punjab and others, 2011, had laid down that illegalities committed in nature of usurpation of common lands of village communities cannot be regularised and the common interest of the villagers cannot be made to suffer merely because the unauthorised occupation has subsisted for many years.
The SC had directed the chief secretaries of all the states to formulate schemes for eviction of illegal and unauthorised occupants of land owned by gram sabhas, gram panchayats, shamilat land for the common use of villagers.