*Div Com appointed Nodal Officer
JAMMU, Jan 30: Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Tashi Rabstan today expressed annoyance over the non-serious approach of Revenue, Police and JDA in the demarcation of 66,436 kanals of JDA land in Jammu and Samba districts.
The DB came down heavily on Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Jammu and Samba and also Vice Chairman, Jammu Development Authority over their lackadaisical approach in the implementation of various orders since December 10, 2014 regarding the demarcation of encroached JDA land.
When the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting encroachment of more than 20 lakh kanals of the State land by the land mafia in league with politicians, bureaucrats, police and revenue officials came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioner vociferously argued that the land mafia in league with police and revenue officials was creating obstacles in the ongoing demarcation exercise. “All the three status reports filed by the JDA clearly show indifferent and non-cooperative attitude by the Revenue and Police Departments”, he added.
“There is a deliberate and intentional move to scuttle the demarcation drive as there is a direct nexus of land mafia with certain politicians, bureaucrats, revenue and police officials”, he said while drawing the attention of the Division Bench towards various orders of the court whereby directions have been issued to the IGP Jammu to provide police protection on permanent basis to the officers of the JDA for carrying out demarcation.
“Till date the security cover has not been provided to the officers of JDA and the IGP Jammu has declined such request on the ground of lack of manpower”, he said, adding “the initial orders for un-demarcated JDA land were passed in the year 2014 and in the last four years, hardly 6 to 7 thousand kanals of JDA land has been demarcated out of 66,436 kanals”.
Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganai appearing for the State Government assured the Division Bench that no stone will be left unturned towards the implementation of the directions. He sought 3 weeks time to come up with the latest status report showing the progress of the demarcation.
The Division Bench, in the open court, advised Deputy Commissioners Jammu and Samba, Senior Superintendent of Police Jammu and Samba and VC JDA who were present in the court to go through all the orders passed in this PIL regarding the demarcation of the JDA land and any lapse in future will be viewed seriously.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina and Supriya Chouhan appearing for the petitioner while as Advocate General Jehangir Iqbal Ganai with Senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekher, Deputy AG Ehsan Mirza and Government Advocate Ahtsham Bhat appearing for the State Government whereas Advocate Adarsh Sharma appearing for Jammu Development Authority and Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi with Advocate Parimoksh Seth for interveners/encroachers, the Division Bench on the joint request of both the sides appointed Divisional Commissioner Jammu Hemant Sharma as Nodal Officer in the matter so that in future all the status reports are filed by one officer in order to avoid any confusion and to ensure timely completion of demarcation drive.
The Division Bench also exempted the appearing officers from personal appearance as requested by Advocate General. Looking into the importance of the PIL, the Division Bench directed the registry to list the matter on March 5, 2018 for further proceedings.