Govt takes tough stance, directs removal of encroachments on water courses, sources

Officials who issued ‘Fards’ in last 2 yrs to face stern action

*Registrars cautioned against registration of such lands

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Oct 29: Taking tough stance, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has directed all the Deputy Commissioners to ensure removal of all the encroachments on water courses and water sources at any cost and furnish detailed report within two weeks positively. Moreover, the Revenue functionaries who have issued ‘Fards’ in respect of such lands during the past two years will face stern action as information about them has also been sought.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that the office of Financial Commissioner Revenue Jammu and Kashmir received a number of communications from the Deputy Commissioners in the recent past for obtaining permission for alienation of land recorded as “Gair Mumkin Khad” in the revenue records.
Accordingly, the Financial Commissioner Revenue sought opinion from Senior Additional Advocate General, who submitted that the owners of land recorded as “Gair Mumkin Khad” cannot sell the land as Big Landed Estates Abolition Act prohibits such transactions.
“The lands which are used for rising of fuel and fodder are unculturable and no documents relating to transfer of such land can be admitted to registration. Moreover, Section 21 of the Act provides that transfer of any holding or part thereof in contravention of the provision of the Act shall be void. Even Section 24 of the Act provides that if a proprietor transfer his land in contravention of the provisions of the Act his right of the ownership in the land held by him shall extinguish and shall escheat to the Government”, the Senior Additional Advocate General further submitted.
It was again submitted that all the transfer deeds-sale deeds are illegal and void and mutation attested on such documents are against the provision of the standing order and orders on such mutations are bad and required to be set aside.
Now, the Government has observed, “nowhere in SRO-456 dated October 25, 2017 it is mentioned that alienation or conversion of lands recorded as water course or water source is permissible”, adding “all the permissions in the name of the policy of the PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Department vide SRO-456 issued by any authority is in violation of law and are invalid ab initio”.
Accordingly, Financial Commissioner Revenue has directed that all encroachments on water courses and water sources should be removed immediately at all costs to enable smooth drainage and de-silting purposes and Deputy Commissioners should submit report in this regard within two weeks positively.
“Strict instructions/warnings should be given to the Chowkidars in the rural areas and Municipal Khilafwarzi staff in urban areas that strong action could be taken against them for failing in their duty to inform the concerned authorities for removal of such encroachments”, read the order, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
Patwaries and revenue staff should also be warned not to issue ‘Fards’ of lands of water source like ‘Chhapri’, ‘Talab’, springs, wells etc and the water courses like rivers, rivulets, streams, ‘Chois’, ‘Khassi’ or ‘Kas Nullahs’ and ‘Khads’ etc to anyone under any circumstances as it is strictly prohibited under law.
“Any such transactions which have happened in the past are legally invalid ab initio and action under law must be taken against such Patwaries/revenue functionaries who have issued such ‘Fards’ in the past after due enquiry and examination of relevant records”, the order said, adding “if anyone is found of having done so in the past two years his/her details should be furnished to the Financial Commissioner Revenue through respective Divisional Commissioner for necessary action against them”.
Moreover, all the Sub-Registrars and Registrars have been enjoined upon to be vigilant and careful that no transaction of such lands is ever admitted for registration within their jurisdiction.
“All the Deputy Commissioners are requested to review the progress of ongoing water bodies census within their districts under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme”, read the order.
It is pertinent to mention here that good quality mobile phones have already been issued to the Tehsildars for conducting census/surveys of water bodies across the Union Territory for GPS coordinates.