Jammu Lawyers Go On Strike, Courts Hit

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JAMMU - Work at the high court and lower courts was affected in most parts of Jammu region on Saturday, following an indefinite strike by lawyers against the recent decision to divest the judicial courts of its powers to register various documents and vest the same with the revenue department.

The strike call was given by Jammu chapter of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA) on Friday, also opposing the proposal to shift the high court from its present location at Janipur to the outskirts of the city.

The indefinite strike by the lawyers is seen as a major challenge for G C Murmu who took over as the first Lt Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir which came into being on October 31.

On October 23, the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by the then Governor Satya Pal Malik accorded sanction to the creation of a new department, which will function under the overall administrative control of revenue department, to provide hassle free and speedy service to the citizens for registration of documents pertaining to immovable property like sale, gift, mortgage, lease and bequest.

Earlier, the revenue department was involved in only issuance of 'Fard Intikhab' (authentication of property with reference to original record) and cost estimation of land on the ground of which registry was being done by judicial officers.

Following the strike by lawyers, work in all courts including the high court, district courts, subordinate courts, tribunals and revenue courts remained affected for the second consecutive day on Saturday.

Almost all major political parties, including the BJP and the Congress, expressed their resentment against the decision to divest the judicial courts of its powers to register various documents, saying that the change is not in the public interest.

"The decision to abstain from the work against the government decision was taken in the General House meeting of the association which met under the chairmanship of president Abhinav Sharma yesterday (Friday)," a spokesman of the JKHBA said.

While opposing the proposed shifting of the high court site to Raika, he said the general house was of the view that the move requires cutting thousands of trees at the site, which is considered 'lungs' of the Jammu city, besides causing inconvenience to the general public and advocates.

Meanwhile, Financial Commissioner Revenue, Pawan Kotwal, who has recently been assigned the charge of Inspector General of Registration J-K, convened a meeting of registrars here and had threadbare discussion on various aspects of the process for registration.

Kotwal asked the registrars to make people aware that additional deputy commissioners and sub-divisional magistrates are now authorised for registrations so that they would not face any difficulty for registration of their documents, the officials said.

He also asked the concerned officials to go through the guidelines of the Registration Act and ensure the accuracy of the documents while conducting registrations.

He asked for organising orientation programs for the concerned officers regarding the registration process.

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