Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday appointed a former Joint Secretary to the Government of India as Local Commissioner to conduct periodic checks on the digitisation of land records underway in Jammu and Kashmir.
Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal directed the government to ensure that the digitisation of records is properly referenced.
The court said, “Dr Nivedita Haran (Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Govt. of India; also Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management, Govt of Kerala) is appointed the Expert as Local Commissioner to conduct periodic checks on the digitisation of land records underway and to report as to whether it is being effected correctly and as per orders.”
The court noted that if necessary, the Local Commissioner may physically travel to the offices in order to conduct random checks and may obtain any necessary assistance as may be deemed necessary, the expenses foe which shall be paid by the government.
“Bi-monthly reports will be submitted by the Local Commissioner to this court,” the court directed.
Earlier, applicant SK Bhalla had submitted before the court that the system of making entries in the land record was extremely primitive, with handwritten entries made using inks.
Furthermore, the applicant stated that the entries were made in the Urdu language, with the major chunk of the population unable to understand the terminology.
“As a result, the revenue officials are able to tamper with the revenue entries with impunity,” the applicant stated.
It was further submitted that the result of more than one person holding the ‘fard intkab’ of the same property with the same Khasra number was leading to litigation that spanned generations for people to establish their lawful title.
In this background, the applicant sought a direction to the respondents (government) to initiate the settlement of record keeping in view of the basis of settlement which was done in the year 1890 A.D. Further, direction was sought for effective and efficient measures for digitisation of revenue records at the earliest.
The bench recorded that it had earlier directed posting of the land records in public domain so that any person affected or objecting to an entry could take notice of the same in order to seek appropriate corrections.
“It has been suggested to the respondents that efforts should be made to enable historical tracking of rights in the land,” the bench said.