Monday, September 26, 2011

In Other Courts: HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD - Smt. Shyama Devi vs. D.D.C. & Others

eLegalix - Allahabad High Court Judgment Information System 
(Judgment/Order in Text Format)


(Judgment reserved on 23.02.2011)
(Judgment delivered on 09.05.2011)

Case :- WRIT - B No. - 38953 of 1999
Petitioner :- Smt. Shyama Devi
Respondent :- D.D.C. & Others
Petitioner Counsel :- S.K. Singh,Rajesh Kr. Singh,V.K. Singh
Respondent Counsel :- C.S.C.,H.S.N. Tripathi,P.S. Tripathi


Case :- WRIT - C No. - 51694 of 2005
Petitioner :- Lal Bahadur
Respondent :- State Of U.P. & Others
Petitioner Counsel :- Pradeep Kumar
Respondent Counsel :- C.S.C.,H.S.N. Tripathi,O.P. Gupta,P.S. Tripathi,V.K. Singh

Hon'ble Sibghat Ullah Khan,J.
Heard learned counsel for the parties.

The first writ petition is directed against order dated 06.09.1996 passed by Settlement Officer Consolidation and the order dated 14.06.1999 passed by D.D.C. Allahabad, Annexure 3 and 4 to the writ petition. 

In consolidation proceedings a compromise was filed by the parties on 09.08.1972 and matter was promptly decided on the basis of compromise by C.O. However, in the year 1989, i.e. after 17 years 5 more plots i.e. plot nos. 1421, 1446, 1448, 1286 and 1356 were sought to be added in the compromise and the order passed on the compromise. The needful was done by the Consolidation Officer through order dated 19.12.1989. The said order was set aside by the impugned orders passed by S.O.C. and D.D.C. and it was held that the said 5 plots were not included even in the objections under Section 9 of the U.P.C.H. Act. The said order was modified by S.O.C. to the extent that above 5 plots were deleted from the same. Against the order passed by S.O.C. Annexure 3 to the writ petition, two revisions were filed being revision no.815/702 by Shyama Devi (petitioner) and revision no.848/720 by Smt. Gaura Devi, respondent no.7 and others. D.D.C. Allahbad, through order dated 14.06.1999 dismissed both the revisions. 

If the above plots were not in dispute and not included in the initial objection, they could not be subject matter of compromise. Accordingly, there is no error in the orders challenged through the first writ petition which is accordingly dismissed. 

As far as second writ petition is concerned it is confined only to plot no.1286 which is one of the above five plots, new number of which is 732 and area is 7 bigha 15 biswas (1.198 hectare). It is situate in village Masadhi pargna Mah Tehsil Handia, District Allahabad. In the said writ petition it has been stated that the said plot is pond and belongs to gaon sabha. Petitioner claims to be a member of gram panchayat Masadhi. It has been stated that the plot in question in the said writ petition is entered as pond since 1333 fasli (Annexure II & III). Khasra of 1359 fasli has also been filed as Annexure no.1 in which also it is mentioned as pond. Annexure 7 to the second writ petition is a report by Tehsildar Handia Allahabad dated 27.08.2004 which has been approved by S.D.M. on 4.11.2004. In the said report it is mentioned that there was some order directing entry of name of Raghvendra Pratap Singh and Yadvendra Pratap Singh respondents in the second writ petition and proforma respondents in the first writ petition. In the report it is mentioned that in the copy of judgment passed by S.O.C. in appeal on 06.09.1996 there is mention of order directing entry of name of both these persons. It is further mentioned that matter was sub judice in the High Court in the form of writ petition However, it is not mentioned that through the said judgment S.O.C. had set aside the order of entry of the 5 plots including plot no. 1286(old)732 (new). The order dated 06.09.1996 has been challenged through the first writ petition. 

Annexure 6 to the second writ petition is a report by Assistant Registrar Kanoongo showing that there is lot of manipulation in Khatauni in respect of entry dated 26.05.1966; case number has been scored off and no date of decision has been mentioned. This proves that contesting respondents of the second writ petition manipulated in the records. Even if it is assumed that some order was passed in respect of a pond in favour of private person it was utterly illegal. No one can acquire any right over pond even if it has become levelled vide Hinch Lal Tiwari v. Kamala Devi AIR 2001 SC 3215 and Civil Appeal No.1132 of 2011 Jagpal Singh Vs. State of Punjab which is reported in 2011(2) SCALE 42. Para 20 of the said authority is quoted below:- 

" In Uttar Pradesh the U.P. Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1954 was widely misused to usurp Gram Sabha lands either with connivance of the Consolidation Authorities, or by forging orders purported to have been passed by Consolidation Officers in the long past so that they may not be compared with the original revenue record showing the land as Gram Sabha land, as these revenue records had been weeded out. Similar may have been the practice in other States. The time has now come to review all these orders by which the common village land has been grabbed by such fraudulent practices."

Accordingly, second writ petition is allowed Collector Allahabad is directed to immediately take possession of the pond in question and if it is not actually in the form of pond then it shall be converted into pond and funds of M.N.R.E.G.A. may be utilised for the said purpose and thereafter pond shall be let out for fisheries purposes after due advertisement and for at least Rs.10,000/- per hectare per year as held in the following authorities: Babban Ram Vs. State of U.P. 2004 (97) RD 675 and Ram Kumar Vs. State 2009 (107) R.D.557. 

Regarding four other plots also inquiry shall be made by the Collector and if they belong to the gaon shaba then they must also be restored to the gaon sabha. If the contesting respondents do not voluntarily deliver possession of plot no.732 within a month then F.I.R. shall also be lodged again them. F.I.R. Must also be lodged against those officials who manipulated the entries in revenue records and disciplinary proceedings must also be initiated after suspending them. 

An affidavit of compliance shall be filed by the Deputy Collector, Handia within three months and the case shall be listed for perusal of the compliance report in the last week of August 2011. 

Office is directed to supply a copy of this order free of cost to Sri S.P. Misra learned standing counsel by tomorrow. 

Order Date :- 09.5.2011

This is an UNCERTIFIED copy for information/reference. For authentic copy please refer to certified copy only. In case of any mistake, please bring it to the notice of Deputy Registrar(Copying).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

News Article: Haryana: Sham and loot behind SHAMLAT

The Tribune, Chandigarh
Saturday, September 15, 2007, Chandigarh, India

Throwing norms to the wind, village common land is being usurped blatantly, says Chitleen K. Sethi

This is appalling loot that is happening silently. Village common lands in Punjab are being picketed. Slowly, but surely, shamlat deh, an integral feature of almost every village in the state, is shrinking.

Shamlat is village common land, kept aside for use for common purposes. The control of the land vests with the village panchayat and the land can be used by the panchayat to earn income to carry out development works in the village. The division, distribution and sale of shamlat deh is not allowed.

But all rules are forgotten when the stakes are high and a single acre of shamlat land near large cities can fetch crores. Active connivance of government officials in violation and misinterpretation of rules to “assist” the land mafia has led to the division and sale of shamlat in many villages through the khewatdars (village landowners).

The instances are more in villages that fall on the outskirts of bigger cities where the shamlat is virtually the only green patch left in the midst of a concrete jungle. At such places, there is a massive attraction to usurp shamlat and benefit from the over-blown land prices due to proximity to the city.

Majri block in SAS Nagar district has under its jurisdiction the Punjab portion of Chandigarh’s periphery. A former Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) stated in a remarkable and rare report on how shamlat land is being usurped in the periphery:

“In many villages in the Majri block consolidation of land never took place, so the question of shamlat land being shared by those who own land in the village (khewatdars) does not arise. In some villages, the title of the shamlat deh has not been decided by the collector.”

“In such villages,” the report states, “the revenue department proceeds to decide the share of the khewatdars in the shamlat without having any authority to do so. Then the general power of attorney (GPAs) of these shares is executed in favour of one person after taking consideration for the land shown under their share. Following which either the sale deeds are executed on the basis of the GPAs or a case for decision of title is filed in the court of the collector by the GPA holders. 

The cases are filed under Section 11 of the Punjab Village Common Land Act, 1961.”
Even in villages where consolidation took place and the title was decided in favour of the Panchayat by the collector, the revenue department on its own identified the share of khewatdars in the shamlat and following the same process an appeal is filed under Section 11 of the Act before the collector. “Despite the fact that the collector’s court has already decided the matter in favour of the Panchayat, the collector begins to hear the case again without any hesitation,” states the report.

For example, decisions regarding shamlat in Kansal and Mianpur Changar villages were taken by the collector’s court in favour of the panchayat in 1998. And yet again in 2006, a case was filed in the Ropar collector’s court to decide on the title and these cases are still going on.

The BDPO also pointed out that the title of the shamlat lands which has been ordered to be vested in the panchayat by the collector’s court more than seven-eight years ago cannot be questioned in appeal after such a long duration. But even in such cases the collectors start hearing such appeals.

“Even when a collector decides in favour of the panchayat,” continues the report, “the panchayat has to file another case for dispossession of the land in another court. This could again take years, by which time the panchayats change and lose interest.” The BDPO found that the most sensational and shocking cases of usurpation of land are those where the area under shamlat is many times more than the land owned by the villagers where consolidation has not taken place. “In such cases, a khweatdar, owning even only a single acre in the village, claims share of many acres of land in the shamlat. For the division of such a shamlat land, the additional director consolidation, the collector, the commissioner, revenue officers and patwari are directly responsible.”

In an effort to find a solution to this rampant usurpation of shamlat, a former assistant deputy commissioner SAS Nagar Ajoy Sharma wrote to the Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayat, Punjab, suggesting that collectors should be careful in using Section 11 of the 1961 Act when deciding the title.

“In the order under Section 11,” he wrote, “the presiding office can decide only as to whether the land vests in panchayat or not. He is not competent to determine the share of proprietors in the land in dispute. Even if the case under Section 11 is decided by the Supreme Court in favour of proprietors they must approach the consolidation authorities for partitioning of the land.”

“In case, it is ordered that the land in despite does not vest in panchayat,” the former ADC stated, “the presiding officer must clearly mention in the concluding para of the order that the shareholders must approach the consolidation authorities for determination of their share in the said land. Land can be mutated in the name of individual shareholders only in case the competent authority has determined the shares. ”

Ajoy Sharma also noted that following the amendment of Section 42 of the Consolidation Act, the consolidation authorities cannot partition the land. “Revenue officials are themselves partitioning the land without determination of share by the consolidation authorities. So when the Consolidation Act is bypassed, what can we achieve with the amendment of the Consolidation Act?”

“Can we rely on the sarpanch when the stakes are so high?” he asks. “I think we cannot. Replies must be vetted by the DDPOs and cases should be defended personally by the BDPOs. In fact, where the sarpanch deposes against the panchayat, the presiding officer must call the BDPO to verify the authenticity of the statement made by the sarpanch.”

Hall of Shame
The BDPO’s report lists nine villages in the Majri block where land worth crores has been usurped over the past few years:

The title of around 105 acres of shamlat was decided in favour of the panchayat in 1998. However, the land mafia in connivance of revenue officials, the sarpanch and panch sold this land. The ADC (Development) Ropar began the hearing of the case nine years after it has been decided in favour of the panchayat. The panchayat has been directed to get the land dispossessed under Section 7 of the 1961 act.

Title of the 184 acres of shamlat land was fixed in 2004 in favour of panchayat. A major portion of the shamlat land is gairmumkin nadi. However, in 2006, the commissioner’s court decided against the panchayat. A report of the BDPO in this regard was also ignored. The panchayat moved the High Court, which has stayed the collector’s decision.

The commissioner decided the title of the shamlat land in favour of the panchayat. However, the land is under the possession of persons who are not even villagers. The revenue department has recorded the ownership of land in their favour. The panchayat is fighting a case for the dispossession of the land.

Revenue department officials determined shares of 25 acres of shamlat land here on their own. The shareholders sold the shares to a single person on the basis of GPA whose name has been added in the revenue records by the revenue officials.

The village has over 92 acres of shamlat land. the title of which was decided in favour of the panchayat in 1998. However, in 2006 revenue officials determined the shares of the land and attested power of attorneys. The commissioners’ court admitted an appeal in the eight years after the decision was taken where it is still pending.

Mianpur Changar
Title of 19 acres of shamlat land was decided in favour of panchayat in 1998. The khewatdars appealed to the commissioner. They faked the commissioner’s decision and in connivance with the Naib Tehsildar got the shares of the land registered in their own name. Execution of these registries was stayed when panchayat moved the High Court. Only 2 of the 142 shareholders were booked.

Title of over 200 acres of shamlat land was taken in favour of the panchayat by the High Court. However, despite repeated reminders, the revenue department did not record the decision in their records.

Consolidation of land did not take place in this village. So, the khewatdars have no right on the land. However, the joint sub registrar got the shares in the land divided and illegally possessed. The land was then leased to a telecom company.

The shamlat land is vested in the panchayat but was illegally sold and 33 registries executed. SDM Kharar reported that the registries were illegal and held the joint sub registrar responsible. These registries were ordered to be cancelled.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Govt. Responds: Haryana framed policy for regularisation of unauthorised religious places

Punjab Newsline Network

Saturday, 06 February 2010

By Kanwal Preet Kaur

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Government has framed  a policy for regularisation of unauthorised religious constructions on public places (Shamilat Deh), in compliance of the instructions of the Supreme Court of India issued to States and Union Territories.

In view of the directions of the Supreme Court and the provisions of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961 and Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964 and the information received from Deputy Commissioners regarding unauthorised religious constructions, it was decided to suitably amend Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964 to enable the Gram Panchayats to regularise unauthorised religious constructions on Shamilat Deh or panchayat lands made after the commencement of Shamilat Law but before September 29, 2009, by way of lease.

The Competent Authority to accord approval to the Gram Panchayats for leasing out their lands to regularise such unauthorised religious constructions would be Deputy Commissioner for an area upto one acre and he or she would be able to give it at a lease rate of Re 1 per kanal per year. In case of area above one acre, the State Government would be the Competent Authority and the lease rate would be Rs 100 per kanal per year or the rate recommended by the Deputy Commissioner, whichever is higher.

As per this procedure, the Gram Panchayat shall publicise the policy in its Sabha area by way of ‘Munadi’ within 15 days of receipt of the policy. The management of such religious places will have to make an application within a period of one month from the date of ‘Munadi’ to the concerned Gram Panchayat for regularisation of unauthorised construction on Shamilat Deh or panchayat lands. Thereafter, no such application shall be entertained and the Gram Panchayat shall initiate proceedings for ejectment in accordance with the provisions of law.

Gram Panchayat, on consideration of the applications, may pass resolutions to lease out the land over which such unauthorised religious construction has taken place and forward the proposal to the concerned Block Development and Panchayat Officer within a maximum period of eight weeks from the date of receipt of application. The proposal of the Gram Panchayat shall be examined by a Committee headed by Sub Divisional Officer (Civil). The other members of the Committee would be Circle Revenue Officer (Tehsildar or Naib Tehsildar), Chairman, Panchayat Samiti and Block Development and Panchayat Officer would be the Member Secretary.

The Committee will examine the proposal and while submitting the recommendation, provide information on certain points concerning the place of worship to the Deputy Commissioner. The Committee may recommend the lease rate over and above Rs 100 per kanal per year in case the area of unauthorised possession is more than one acre. This rate could be in view of the location, market value and other factors.

If the proposal is approved by the Deputy Commissioner, it shall be treated as provisional for a period of 30 days, after which it would be deemed to be confirmed unless otherwise ordered by the Deputy Commissioner or Director, Panchayats within the period.

In case the unauthorised religious construction is resulting in any obstruction to the traffic, passerby or any kind of public utility, it shall be considered for the purpose of regularisation only if the management or institution agrees to its relocation to the extent of obstruction.

All unauthorised religious constructions made after September 29, 2009 shall be summarily removed as per the law and instructions. The concerned Sarpanch of the Gram Panchayat and Block Development and Panchayat Officer will ensure that no new unauthorised religious construction takes place on Shamilat Deh or panchayat lands.

The Gram Panchayat shall maintain a register of such religious constructions which have been regularised as per the policy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

News Article: Jairam Ramesh keen to bring Land Reforms Bill in Parliament

India Today  / India / North /  Story
Ashish Sinha  New Delhi, September 12, 2011 | UPDATED 18:57 IST

After introducing the land acquisition Bill in Parliament last week, Union Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh now plans to address the vexed and sensitive issue of land reforms, including the revision of land ceiling limits, in a big way.

In a radical move, the minister has proposed that 'absentee landlords' should own only half the quantum of land as compared to the ceiling fixed for normal landowners.

"Absentee landlords and non-resident landowners may be clearly defined. This may be communicated to the states and Union Territories for consideration," Ramesh has proposed.

This recommendation, along with many others, would be taken up at the first meeting of National Council for Land Reforms (NCLR), headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in early October.

The NCLR was set up in January 2008 for "providing broad guidelines and policy direction on land reforms". Although "land reforms" and "agriculture" are state subjects, the need for a 'National Land Reforms Policy' has been felt for evolving a uniform approach to the issue.

Ramesh is the ex-officio chairman of the 'committee on state agrarian relations and the unfinished task in land reforms', an issue the Prime Minister had asked to undertake a detailed study of.

Just distribution of land has remained an unaccomplished task in India although most states had enacted land reform laws in the 1950s with the twin objectives of abolishing 'lanlordism' and providing 'land to the tiller'.

An early 'task force' of Planning Commission had identified lack of political will, inadequate land policy, legal hurdles, litigation, lack of correct land records and weak administrative machinery as the main reason for sluggish movement on the issue. It had, in fact, cited an apathetic bureaucracy as a major hurdle to speedy land reforms since elements of the post-Independence officialdom were closely aligned with the landed classes.

This class had turned into benami landowners and continued to illegally maintain its stronghold over large tracts of land in most states. Later, as these members migrated from rural areas, the phenomenon of "absentee landlordism" and bataidari (share-cropping) gained currency.

While West Bengal, Kerala, Tripura and Karnataka made significant strides in land reforms by putting it in the 'operation' mode, the position of 'feudal' states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc. , is far from satisfactory.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

News Article: PM may convene meeting with CMs on land issues

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, September 10, 2011

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to convene a meeting of chief ministers this month to discuss the existing land-related issues in the country.

Unfinished agenda of land reforms, modernisation of land records and revamping of revenue administration are the proposed agenda for the first meeting of the 'National Council for Land Reforms', a government source said on Saturday.

The Prime Minister has agreed to call the meeting, the official said.

Meanwhile, the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has examined recommendations in the report of the 'Committee on State Agrarian Relations and the Unfinished Task in Land Reforms'.

The latter was constituted by the Department of Land Resources (DoLR).

The CoS have recommended "immediate action" on the basis of the report, the official added.

PM to discuss land acquisition issue with CMs

10 Sep 2011 09:17:47 PM IST

Against the backdrop of recent agitations in different states over land acquisition, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to hold a meeting of Chief Ministers this month to discuss the issue.

Unfinished agenda of land reforms, modernisation of land records and revamping of revenue administration constitute the agenda for the first meeting of the 'National Council for Land Reforms', a government source said on Saturday.
The Prime Minister has agreed to call the meeting, the official said.
Meanwhile, the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has examined recommendations in the report of the 'Committee on State Agrarian Relations and the Unfinished Task in Land Reforms'. The latter was constituted by the Department of Land Resources (DoLR).
The CoS have recommended "immediate action" on the basis of the report which recommended that "there is an urgent need to re-visit the land ceiling limits in different categories to be implemented with retrospective effect."
It is recommended that the state should be free to revise its ceiling limits provided that they do not exceed the ceiling already fixed even on regional and sub-regional basis.
"The new limit should be 5-10 acres in the case of irrigated land and 10-15 acres for non-irrigated land, to be decided by the concerned state governments," it recommended.
"States may be urged to re-visit the land ceiling limits in rural areas with prospective effect, fixing the limits using the norms of standard acres and keeping in view agricultural productivity of the land," the report said.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In Other Courts: HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA - Ramesh Kumar And Others vs State of Haryana And Others


LPA No. 1144 of 2011 (O&M)
Date of Decision: August 23, 2011

Ramesh Kumar and others (...Appellants)
State of Haryana and others (...Respondents)


Mr. Mahavir Sandhu, Advocate, for the appellants.
Mr. Aman Chaudhary, Addl. AG, Haryana, for respondent Nos. 1 to 3.
Mr. Satish Chaudhary, Advocate, for respondent No. 4.

1. To be referred to the Reporters or not?
2. Whether the judgment should be reported in the Digest?


1. The instant appeal under Clause X of the Letters Patent is directed against an interlocutory/interim order dated 2.6.2011 passed by the learned Single Judge. The writ petition, namely, CWP No. 1343 of 2011, has been admitted but the interim orders staying utilisation of land for allotment of 100 Sq. Yards plots was vacated. The controversy raised in the instant appeal is whether the land in question could be regarded as shamilat deh within the meaning of Section 2(g) of the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Act, 1961 (as applicable to the State of Haryana) [for brevity, 'the Act']. LPA No. 1144 of 2011 (O&M) 2

2. Mr. Mahavir Sandhu, learned counsel for the appellants has placed on record additional documents (Annexures A-1 to A-4) and have asserted that the land cannot be regarded as shamilat deh because it is not being used for village common purposes. According to the learned counsel the land is mutated in the name of individual Patti Holders, some of whom are the appellants. He has drawn our pointed attention to the revenue record in the form of Khasra Girdawaries (A-1) pertaining to the period 16.10.2007 to 15.3.2011; Mutation Hadbast No. 298, Tehsil Jagadhri, District Yamuna Nagar (A-2, A-3 and A-4). He has also cited the provisions of the Act to argue that until and unless a piece of land is used for village common purposes, it would be excluded from the definition of shamilat deh.

3. Mr. Aman Chaudhary, learned Additional Advocate General, Haryana, has, however, pointed out that the writ petition has been admitted and no written statement could be filed before the learned Single Judge. He has, however, placed reliance on the Division Bench judgment of this Court rendered in the case of Gurmukh Singh and another v. State of Haryana and others (LPA No. 1322 of 2009, decided on 8.1.2010) as also judgment of Hon'ble the Supreme Court rendered in the case of Jagpal Singh and others v. others, 1123.

State of Punjab and others, AIR 2011 SC 1123

4. In view of the above, we direct the respondent State of Haryana to file reply to the writ petition within a period of four weeks and place on record all the relevant revenue record to enable the Court to decide whether the land in question could be regarded as shamilat deh or not. The stay matter is relegated back LPA No. 1144 of 2011 (O&M) 3 to the learned Single Judge to decide afresh after taking into consideration the documents which may be brought before the learned Single Judge by way of replication by the appellants. The parties shall maintain status quo as it exists today.

5. The appeal stands disposed of.

August 23, 2011 JUDGE P kapoor

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

News Article: Kerala: Officials asked to examine old survey documents

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

Posted on Aug 06, 2011 at 11:04am IST

KOLLAM: The Tahsildar has directed the officials concerned to verify the resurvey documents of Buckingham Canal and the adjacent plot with the documents of earlier surveys. The resurvey was conducted in 1996.

Tahsildar A Girija told ‘Express’ that the encroachment of the canal puramboke land could not be detected in the present survey when verified with the resurvey conducted in 1996 and a detailed study was to be conducted.

The residents had blocked the construction of a compound wall, which visibly encroached the canal and partially blocked the water flow. The land is owned by one Abdul Rasheed, proprietor of Royal Mark, a company which had obtained necessary permissions to construct a three-storied apartment on the plot.

Following protests from residents, Abdul Rasheed had filed a request to survey the land and fix its boundaries.

‘Express’ had pointed out in these columns about the stark contrast in the total area of the canal in the surveys conducted in 1980 and 1996. A major portion of the canal was encroached upon during this period.

The present survey was conducted only on the canal plot adjacent to the land owned by Abdul Rasheed, while a detailed survey of the entire canal puramboke land has to be conducted to analyse the extend of reclamation activities at the canal.

Canal referred ‘drainage’: The Town Planning Officer’s permission, obtained by Abdul Rasheed for the construction of the apartment, refers the canal as a ‘drainage’. The copy of the permission submitted to the Village Office, along with the request for resurvey, was accessed by ‘Express’ and found that it directs the party concerned to construct a side wall to protect the ‘drainage’.

On the anomaly in directing a private party to construct a protection wall for a canal owned by the government, the tahasildar said that the matter would be looked into.

Protection of canal: Canal Protection Council member Antony Patrick said that the canal and the adjacent ancient cemetery were part of the colonial history of Thangasseri and had to be protected. ‘’Only the Thangasseri Fort has been declared a protected monument by the Archaeology Survey of India. The cemetery and the canal should also be brought under the Archaeology Department,’’ he said.

District Collector P G Thomas said that steps would be taken to protect the canal. He said that he would look into the long-pending proposal for rehabilitation of the people living on the cemetery puramboke land.

Monday, September 5, 2011

News Article: Kerala: Crackdown on reclamation of fields

The Hindu
1st April 2011

 Chief Secretary asks District Collectors to act against violations

Reclamation of wetlands rampant
Directive to act against illegal sand-mining

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Secretary P. Prabhakaran has directed District Collectors to initiate action to check the recent spurt in reclamation of wetlands and paddy fields, destruction of mangroves and other violations of environmental regulations like illegal sand-mining and extraction of soil.

An official order issued to Collectors, Mr. Prabhakaran said there had been an increase in the number of such violations, especially the Kerala Paddy and Wetland (Conservation) Act 2008 and the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 2011. The communication said several instances of reclamation of wetlands and paddy fields and clearing of coastal vegetation, especially mangroves, had been reported by civil society organisations.

“There have also been a number of instances of illegal sand-mining and quarrying and large scale removal of soil from paddy fields and other areas. Hillocks are being excavated and soil transported to fill up wetlands and other low lying areas, disrupting the hydrology of the area with its long-term impact on the livelihood of a large number of people,” the order said.

Pointing to the likelihood of a surge in such offences during the transition of power when several staff were busy with election-related work, the communication directed Collectors to be extremely vigilant and take timely action. It called for particular attention to be paid to public land and common property vulnerable to encroachment and destruction.

Mr. Prabhakaran quoted a Supreme Court order prohibiting the regularisation of puramboke land that had been encroached upon and directing State governments to evict illegal occupants. He urged Collectors to ensure timely action to prevent violations and to book offenders, invoking the provisions of various rules and regulations.

The Collectors had also been asked to instruct secretaries of local bodies to take appropriate action in such cases and inform the field officers about suspected violations. Welcoming the Chief Secretary's initiative, R. Sridhar, an activist with Thanal, a city-based environmental organisation, hoped it would help to curb the recent spurt in violation of environmental laws capitalising on the situation when the administration was busy with election-related activities. The Kerala State Biodiversity Board has also directed the district administration in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam, Malappuram and Thrissur to initiate action against violation of environmental regulations.

Chairman of the board R.V. Varma said environmental laws and CRZ norms were being flouted all over the State, at a time when the government machinery was engaged in election work.

He called upon the public to inform the respective Collector, the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment or the Biodiversity Board about such violations.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

News Article: Rajasthan: No to regularization of Encroachment on public lands: Supreme Court

(This is a free-hand translation of the article attached below)

Rajasthan Patrika
31st August 2011

Plan to develop Jaipur as World Class Heritage City approved
Juris News @ New Delhi

The Supreme Court has directed the State Government, Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) and Jaipur Municipal Corporation, not to regularise any encroachment or any construction on the public land falling under their Master and Zonal Plans. It was also clarified that this decision of the Court would not come in the way of Government's policy based decision for the rehabilitation of the unregulated colonies.

The bench comprising of Justice G.S.Singhvi and A.K.Ganguli issued these orders after hearing the statements of Chief Attorney G.S.Bafna, and Attorneys Sushil Kumar Jain, Punit Jain and others. The Court on Tuesday also accepted the Chief Attorney Bafna's proposal to make Jaipur a World Class Heritage City.

Empowered Committee to replace Monitoring Committee

The Court directed that the Monitoring Committee appointed by the Rajasthan High Court should cease working from 15th September. In its place, the Court, on the suggestion from the State Government has set up an Empowered Committee with two retired judges V.S.Dave and I.S.Israni, to develop Jaipur as the World Class Heritage City. This Committee would ensure the implementation of the plan after consultations with the State Government. The Court said that the tenure of the Committee would be for two years and will come into effect from 15th September 2011. This Committee would advise the State Government, Municipal Corporation and the JDA on how to stop the encroachments, illegal land use and the illegal constructions.

Emphasis on several issues

The Empowered Committee would also oversee the issues of sanitation, traffic system, public utilities and also the issues related to the parking in the city.

The Committee would also oversee the issue of temporary and permanent encroachments on the public lands falling under the territories of JDA, Municipal Corporation and Rajasthan Housing Board and also within the complete limits of Jaipur. The Committee would have the authority to accept the suggestions and complaints from the people and also to issue directives to the concerned departments.

The Committee would also advise the JDA and JMC on the problems relating to unregulated colonies

First Report in December 2011

JDA would be the nodal agency to provide all the facilities to the Committee. JDA would also be responsible for the payments to be made to the experts. The State Government would finalise the remuneration and other facilities to be given to the members of the Empowered Committee and that would be borne by the JDA. The Court also directed that the Empowered Committee would submit its first report in the first week of December this year. The next hearing would be on 13th December.