HC seeks Govt response on Agri land

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Aug 12: High Court has sought reply from Government on conversion of agriculture land into non-agriculture purpose and directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to file compliance report that no agriculture land is converted into non-agricultural purposes by any mode situated at Ranbir Garh Pratap Garh Srinagar.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Tasaduq Hussain submitting therein that some vested interests are converting a big chunk of agricultural land in the area into non-agricultural purposes by earth filling.
The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal after hearing the petitioner counsel sought reply from all concerned and meanwhile directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to report compliance by August 16 to ensure that no such activity is undertaken on spot.
Court issued notice to other six persons who are alleged to have converted the agriculture land into non agriculture purpose. Petitioner besides other reliefs sought that Commissioner SMC be directed not to issue any building permission for establishing the residential colony by these private persons over the said chunk of land. “In case any building permission stand issued the same may be kept on hold forthwith”, petitioner prayed.
The petitioner counsel informed the court that they are well aware about the earlier directions passed by the court and the petitioner in tune with directions had approached the Divisional Commissioner but with no results which compelled him to approach the court again.
As the practice (conversion of agriculture land) is unabated in the State, High Court has already way back in the year 2016 directed the Government to appoint Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir as well as Jammu division for implementing the provision of land laws including Supreme Court directions as also the directions passed from High Court in order to save the agriculture land in JK UT.
The authorities are under direction to implement the relevant laws and also evolve mechanisms for protection and preservation of the retrieved land.
It may be mentioned that Supreme Court for saving the agriculture land and wetlands in a judgment ‘Jagpal Singh Vs State of Punjab” has directed to all the State Governments in the country that they should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/Poramboke/Shamlat land and these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village.
“For this purpose the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments/Union Territories in India are directed to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments” Supreme Court directs adding with “The said scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and a brief hearing. Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession”.
Anybody is free to approach the Court in case the directions of the court are not being implemented and can also inform the court in case the compliance report filed by both Divisional Commissioners is not correct. “On such a motion the court may then initiate contempt proceedings against the concerned authorities”, read the court judgment.
The Court in that judgment has also granted liberty to any person for approaching the respective Divisional Commissioner about the violation of the laws and encroachments made in the state land, shamilat land or Khacharie land.