Wednesday, June 22, 2011

News Article: SC asks states to evict encroachers from panchayat lands

United News of India
New Delhi, February 1, 2011

Cracking the whip on the criminal-politician-administration nexus and to free the Gram Sabha (GS) and Gram Panchayat (GP) lands from encroachers and land grabbers across the country, the Supreme Court has directed the Chief Secretaries (CS) of all the States and Union Territories (UTs) to prepare comprehensive schemes for eviction of illegal occupants.

A bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra in their 12-page judgement ruled, "Before parting with this case we give directions to all the state governments in the country that they should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorised occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/Poramboke/Shamlat lands and these must be restored to the Sabha/Panchayats for the common use of villagers of the villages."

"For this purpose the CS of all state governments/UTs in India are directed to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the governments," they said.

"The said scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant after giving him a show-cause notice and a brief hearing," the order said.
"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 regularising the illegal postion," it said.

The court said regularisation should only be permitted in exceptional cases, where, for example, lease has been granted under some government notification to landless labourers or members of SCs/STs or where there is already a school, dispensary or other public utility on the land.

The court directed the Court Registry to send the copy of the order to all CS of all states/UTs in India, who will submit compliance report to this court from time to time and ensure strict and prompt compliance of the order.

The apex court dismissed the appeals of Jagpal Singh and others, who had encroached a village pond in Patiala district of Punjab and raised constructions on the encroached land.

The court also held, while fixing May 3 as the next date of hearing for the case, all government orders permitting the Sabha lands to private people and commercial enterprises on payment of some money are illegal and should be ignored.

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