Monday, April 2, 2012

News Article: Village common land being sold with impunity

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Sat Mar 31 2012, 02:19 hrs

Village common land in Mohali is being sold with impunity right under the nose of the revenue authorities. Consider this: as many as 858 sale deeds pertaining to shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan in Mohali stand registered till now. This shocking figure was submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court today during the resumed hearing of a petition.

Taking strong note of the “sorry state of affairs”, the High Court today directed the Mohali Deputy Commissioner (DC), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and Chief Conservator of Forests to come up with a plan to protect the village common land and land in the periphery of Mohali from illegal occupation.

The respondents have been directed to come up with a plan to protect the fragile green cover around the district and to ensure that preventive measures are taken in advance to save the common land. Reprimanding the Mohali police for not taking action in time and sitting over complaints, a division bench today directed the authorities to take immediate and effective action in advance.

A division bench comprising Justice Rajive Bhalla and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain today came down heavily on the authorities for appending FIRs relating to 2010 to claim that the police are taking action against encroachers and illegal occupants.

Rubbishing the “defence”, the High Court referred to a case wherein a complainant had submitted a complaint on February 11 despite which no FIR has been registered till now. The Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police was present in the Court today.

On the last date, hearing a petition filed by one Mohinder Singh, the High Court had ruled that “a perusal of the documents appended with the petition reveals that 218 sale deeds have been executed of shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan land. We appreciate the action taken by the deputy commissioner but direct him to file another affidavit with respect to sale of shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan of the gram panchayat in Mohali. The affidavit should indicate all sale deeds of shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan up to the year 2012”.

In response, an affidavit was filed today by Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam after receiving information from all the Tehsildars. The affidavit reads, “As per the information sent by the Tehsildars concerned, 858 sale deeds pertaining to shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan were registered in the district upto the year 2012.”

The Mohali DC has (vide order dated March 6) directed the SAS Nagar district development panchayat officer (DDPO) and Dera Bassi block development panchayat officer (BDPO) to initiate action to set aside the sale deeds which were executed with respect to shamlat deh and jumla mushtarka malkan land of village Mubarkpur, Tehsil Dera Bassi. Similar orders were passed with respect to other villages.

During the resumed hearing on February 23, the High Court had ruled, “The case in hand relates to sale of public property, viz, land, admittedly, described in the revenue record prescribes that though ownership of such land vests in proprietors, its management and control lies with the gram panchayat. The sale deeds in the present case were executed by the so called proprietors on the basis of dubious determinations of shareholdings of vendors. The Registrar of documents and the then deputy commissioner have not bothered to protect public property and permitted the sale of panchayat property.”

Mincing no words, the High Court had also observed that “it appears that the jumla mushtarka malkan land situated within the revenue estate of village Mubarikpur is being sold with impunity and with the active connivance of the revenue authorities”.

© 2012 The Indian Express Limited. All rights reserved

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