India

J&K administration warns revenue officials on govt land


This comes in the wake of HC order last Oct. to annul Roshni Act and retrieve govt land from ‘encroachers’

The Jammu and Kashmir administration, quoting new land laws notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has warned revenue officials with imprisonment if they dishonestly create documents to buy or sell any government land or create forged documents to grab government land.

This comes in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir High Court order last October to annul the Roshni Act and retrieve government land from ‘encroachers.’

Also read: J&K administration seeks review of order on Roshni Act

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, in the order on October 9, directed that details of “State land in unauthorised occupation” shall be disclosed on the government’s website, along with the names of the beneficiaries under the Roshni Act that was scrapped by it. The beneficiaries under the Act included former State ministers, retired civil servants and politicians.

According to the minutes of the meeting held in November, the “officials were asked to ensure that all illegal entries on State/Government land be cancelled by passing detailed orders and if any such entry is again found in the revenue records the concerned revenue official shall be held responsible” and action warranted under rules shall be taken against them.

Also read: Roshni Act: no immediate ‘coercive action’ against petitioners, says J&K in SC

Modifications by MHA

The minutes said that according to the modifications made by the MHA in the Land Revenue Act on October 26, 2020, “revenue field functionaries shall be warned that penal provisions have now been made under Section 119-D for dishonestly creating documents for the purpose of selling, mortgaging or transferring by gift or otherwise of any government land (imprisonment of three years and fine of ten thousand rupees) and for creating a forged document regarding government land with an intention to use it for that purpose or grab such land (imprisonment for three years and fine of five thousand rupees)”

It said that Section 133 of the said Act also provided that in case of encroachment of government land, the person committing the offence on conviction shall be punishable by an imprisonment of one year or a fine of not less than ₹ 25,000 or both.

The CBI is investigating the alleged scam, where it is claimed that hundreds of acres of valuable forest and government land had been illegally occupied, usurped and encroached upon by influential politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats and judicial functionaries all over J&K, under the Roshni Act that was passed in 2001.

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