HC restrains Govt from extending Roshni Scheme

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Dec 18: Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan today restrained the Government from extending the Roshni Scheme.
The significant direction was passed in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) titled Ankur Sharma and State of J&K and Others challenging the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, which is popularly known as ‘Roshni Act’.
The Act has been dubbed as illegal on the ground that it violates the doctrine of equality and creates a special class of society for conferring undue benefits at the will and whims of the political entities.
The legislation was conceived to reward the violators of law, who instead of being booked for grabbing the State land, were conferred with the ownership rights and the law being a unique piece of legislation on the statue book cannot be allowed to sustain in an organized society governed by rule of law, the PIL said.
“Nowhere in the country such a legislation was ever enacted to give premium to those who indulged in land grabbing as such legislation being against public policy and constitutional mandate is required to be declared unconstitutional and the land so regularized in favour of illegal occupants is required to be retrieved by setting aside all orders of regularizations”, the PIL said.
In the PIL, reference has also been made of Apex Court observation in case titled Akhil Bhartiya Upbhokta Congress Versus State of Madhya Pradesh and Others, whereby it has been emphasized that State or its agencies cannot give largesse to any person according to the sweet will and whims of the political entities and officers of the State.
In this case, the Supreme Court has further observed that distribution of largesse like allotment of land by the State and its agencies should always be done in a fair and equitable manner and the element of favoritism or nepotism shall not influence the exercise of discretion.
The petitioner Ankur Sharma, who was appearing in person, submitted that the provisions of the Roshni Act inviting claims have been extended time and again. He prayed that the respondents may be restrained from issuing any further SRO inviting claims under the Roshni Act.
“As the objections have not been filed, we deem it appropriate to restrain the State Government from issuing any further SRO inviting claims after the expiry of the last SRO”, the DB said and granted four weeks time to Senior Additional Advocate General, Gagan Basotra for filing objections.

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