PIL against land grabbing: Lal Singh in dock

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Court issues notice to CS, other officials

Jammu: The Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Justice Hasnain Masoodi and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal Wednesday issued notice to the State Government to recover excess land from RB Educational Trust, Kathua , a family trust of the health minister Chaudhury Lal Singh.

The land measures 316 Kanals and 17 Marlas situated at Village Karandi Khurd, Tehsil Hiranagar District Kathua contrary to the ceiling prescribed under Section 2(1) read with Section 14 of J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976.

The notices were accepted in the Open Court by Seema Sheikhar Khajooria Senior Additional Advocate General,  S.S. Nanda Senior AAG and L.K. Moza AAG on behalf of the State functionaries.

When the petition moved by Social Activist Prof. S.K. Bhalla came up for hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Irfaan Khan, Rahul Raina, Suraj Singh appearing for the petitioner drew the attention of Division Bench to a D.O. Letter dated 24-04-2006 written by Dr. Ashok Bhan (IPS) the then Commissioner of Vigilance, J&K to the then Chief Minister, J&K wherein it was submitted that Chaudhury Lal Singh has physical possession of 324 Kanals and 7 Marlas of land in Village Karandi Khurd, Tehsil Hiranagar District Kathua where he is constructing a farm house. 

Under the provisions of the Agrarian Reforms Act a person can claim possession to the extent of land measuring twelve and a half standard acres which is approximately 100 Kanals.

Advocate Ahmed according also drew the attention of the Division Bench to a status report filed by S. Simrandeep Singh (IAS) the then Additional Secretary to Government, General Administration Department wherein in para 3 it was submitted that on 06-03-2013 in a meeting convened by the Chief Secretary, J&K it was decided that the land in excess of what can be retained and possessed by the RB Educational Trust in accordance with the Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976 should be retrieved and dealt with in accordance with law.

The Division Bench also took serious note of the encroachment of the State Land measuring more than 20 lakhs kanals and Advocate S.S. Ahmed drew the attention of the Court to CMA No.555/2013 wherein directions were issued to the State of J&K to disclose the names of the encroachers who have occupied the State Land.

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that pursuant to the directions of this Court the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu as well as Kashmir have submitted 13 compilations indicating the names of the encroachers district wise. Upon this the Division Bench directed the State of J&K to file a comprehensive report before the next date of hearing suggesting mechanism for removal of the encroachment so that effective orders are passed in this regard.

With regard to the infamous Roshini Land Scam the Division Bench expressed its dissatisfaction to the status report filed by the Director SVO and in the Open Court observed that the report is merely a narration of facts and events without detailing the action taken. The Division Bench issued fresh directions to the SVO to file a comprehensive status report FIR wise and the said report must give the exact date of conclusion of the investigation submission of file to the competent authority for accord of sanction and the period for which the matter is lying with the authority without any decision so that effective orders are passed in the matter. CNS

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