Friday, June 29, 2012

In Other Courts: K.K.Sachidanandan vs The District Collector,... on 16 March, 2011


... Petitioner



The Hon'ble the Chief Justice MR.J.CHELAMESWAR The Hon'ble MR. Justice ANTONY DOMINIC Dated: 16/03/2011


J.Chelameswar, C.J. & Antony Dominic, J. ------------------------------------------ W.P.(C) No.3890 of 2011

------------------------------------------ Dated this the 16th day of March, 2011 JUDGMENT
J.Chelameswar, C.J.

The writ petition is filed with the prayers as follows: "i) To issue, a writ, direction or order in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondents 1 to 3 to take immediate measures to see that the pond in front of the temple of the 4th respondent at Veluthur Village in Arimbur Grama Panchayat is not reclaimed or trespassed, and to remove all trespassing and take all measures to maintain purity of the same, forthwith. ii) Such other reliefs which this Hon'ble Court deems fit and necessary in the circumstances of the case so as to protect the said pond referred to above and the costs of this case.

2. The facts are as follows: The petitioner is a resident of the Veluthur Village in Arimbur Grama Panchayat. It appears that there is a temple in the said village allegedly owned by the & quot; Uranma Devaswom& quot;. It also appears that there is a pond in front of the said temple. The petitioner asserts that the pond is 'puramboke' as defined under the Kerala Land Conservancy Act, 1957. The petitioner also asserts that the 4th respondent Devaswom have decided to construct a marriage hall by reclaiming the above mentioned pond and took certain steps for the said purpose. Therefore, the instant writ petition is filed complaining that though the state of affairs is brought to the notice of the other respondents no action was taken by them.

3. Having regard to the nature of the complaint we called upon the learned Government Pleader to obtain instructions in the matter. The learned Government Pleader filed a report dated 14th February, 2011. According to the said report, the land in question on which the pond exists is not 'puramboke', but 'nilam' land owned by the 4th respondent Devaswom. It is also admitted in the said report that the 4th respondent was attempting to fill up the said pond as alleged by the petitioner, but the police stopped the said activity.

4. In view of the said report, the assertion of the petitioner that an attempt is being made by the 4th respondent to fill up an existing tank is sufficiently established.

5.The Supreme Court in the case of Jagpal Singh & Others v. State of Punjab & others (CDJ 2011 SC 93) at paragraphs 18 and 19 held as follows: "18. Over the last few decades, however, most of these ponds in our country have been filled with earth and built upon by greedy people, thus destroying their original character. This has contributed to the water shortages in the country.

19. Also, many ponds are auctioned off at throw away prices to businessmen for fisheries in collusion with authorities/Grama Panchayat officials, and even this money collected from these so called auctions are not used for the common benefit of the villagers but misappropriated by certain individuals. The time has come when these malpractices must stop. The Supreme Court while dealing with the complaint regarding the filling up of ponds in this country further directed at paragraph 22 as follows:

& quot; 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/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."

6. However, the question whether the pond exists on a land which can be classified under the revenue laws of the State of Kerala either as 'puramboke' or as 'nilam' is a question which depends upon the existence of certain facts. Depending upon the true nature of the land and the classification made of the same in the revenue records the right of the 4th respondent to fill up the land and the conditions subject to which such right can be exercised also vary. Determination of all these questions, in our opinion, require evidence to be recorded and documents to be examined which exercise is not normally undertaken by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Sections 91 and 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure expressly provides for adjudication of such disputes.

7. We therefore deem it appropriate to close the present writ petition reserving the liberty of the petitioner to move the competent civil court for appropriate relief. We also deem it appropriate to direct the respondents to maintain the status quo existing as on today with regard to the above mentioned pond for a period of two months. It will be open to the petitioner to seek such appropriate interim orders from the competent civil court as and when the suit such as the one referred to above is instituted. J.Chelameswar,

Chief Justice
Antony Dominic,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Soon, new policy to bar allotment of pastoral land to industries

KapilDave : Gandhinagar, Mon Jun 25 2012, 04:14 hrs

Following the Supreme Court’s order in January 2011, the state government is expected to announce the long overdue Gochar Land Policy which prohibits the allotment of pastoral (gochar) land of villages for industrial or commercial purposes.

The new Gochar Land Policy draft, prepared by the state revenue department which was pending approval from the state lawyers in the Supreme Court and the state legal department, has now been approved.

The final policy draft of the new Gochar Land Policy was stuck due to ambiguities concerning the legal interpretation of the Supreme Court order. A Ministerial committee formed for deciding the various aspects of this policy in accordance with the SC order has cleared the draft. The final report has been sent for the approval of the Chief Minister. It is expected to be cleared within a week to ten days time,” said a senior revenue department official .

As per the new policy, no new gochar land will be given for industrial or commercial purpose. It will be given only in the case of a very high public interest or in cases where commercial interests are getting affected if a small pocket of gochar land is between a large piece of land, the officer added.

The officer further informed that the order was very clear that the pastoral land is strictly for community use and that resources belonging to the village community shall not be given for any industrial or commercial use. However, the land could be used for building healthcare centers and schools which are for the “larger public good”.

Another issue according to the official is that, some pastoral land have now come within urban areas. The land cannot be classified as pastoral land under this new policy and will therefore be used for public utilities. 

Over the years the state government had sold thousands of hectares of gochar land to private industries.

This new policy was initiated following the Supreme Court order in the case of Jagpal Singh & others vs State of Punjab & others regarding the industrial and commercial use of public resources like pastoral land, waste land, ponds etc. against the interest of the local community.

As against the 39.56 lakh hectare of grazing land required as per the state government’s own standards for cattle, the state has only an estimated 8.5 lakh hectare.

The state therefore has a massive deficit, and according to the state government’s data atleast 424 villages in the state have no pastoral land. Encroachment over pastoral land is also becoming a serious problem in the state. According to Gujarat government’s data, 50,771 encroachments in around 16,000 villages were reported as of September 2010. Out of which 36960 encroachments are more than five years old.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mr.Sudhir Singh Rana vs Ministry Of Home Affairs on 4 February, 2011

Central Information Commission
Room No. 5, Club Building, Near Post Office
Old J.N.U. Campus, New Delhi - 110067
Tel No: 26161997
Case No. CIC/SS/A/2010/000778

Name of Appellant : Sh. Sudhir Singh Rana (The Appellant was present along with Sh. V. S. Rana and Sh. Azad Singh)

Name of Respondent : Delhi Police, Outer Dist., Pushpanjali (Represented by Sh. Rajesh Kumar, ACP, Sh. Dilip Kumar, Insp. Sh. Madan Lal, S.I., Sh. Dharmvir Singh and sh. Rajender Singh, ACP)

The matter was heard on : 2.02.2011


Sh. Sudhir Singh Rana, the Appellant, vide application dated 7.06.2010, sought to know the action taken by the Police on references received from the BDO, Alipur Block, Delhi regarding unauthorized construction on Gram Sabha land near Samshan Ghat of Khera Garhi in village Kera Kalan. The BDO had, though the following letter requested the police to stop the construction work and to take action against the encroachers. ­

S. Particulars Letter No. Date No
1 Unauthorized Construction upon F.2823(90)/2005/BDO 11.04.2008 Gram Sabha land near Samshan Ghat NW/95­96 of Khera Garhi in village Khera Kalan.

2. Unauthorized Encroachment upon 23(90)/2009/BDO(NW) 2.09.2009 Gram Sabha land bearing Kh. No. /Part/968­69 50/17, 50/18 in village Khera Garhi in Khera Kalan near Cremation Ground of Khera Garhi Colony.

3. Unauthorized Construction upon 1446­48 4.01.2010 Gram Sabha land bearing Kh. No. 50/16, 17, 18 and 25 in Khera Garhi Colony near shamshan (Ghat 20­point Colony) in village Khera Kalan.

4. Unauthorized construction upon F.23(90)/2005/BDO(N 24.02.2010 Gram Sabha land bearing Kh. No. W)/Part/1730031 ­ 50/16, 17, 18 and 25 in Khera Garhi Colony near Shamshan (Ghat 20 points Colony) in village Khera Kalan.

The PIO, replied to the Appellant that the complaints were pending enquiry with the local police, due to the fact that necessary reply / information has not been received from the BDO, Alipur, Delhi to the letter sent by SHO / Samaypur Badli.

Not satisfied with the reply of the PIO, the Appellant filed an appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA). Not getting information to his satisfaction even after filling the first appeal, the Appellant has filed the present appeal before the Commission.

During the hearing the Appellant submits that he has been requesting for information with regard to the unauthorized encroachment on Gram Sabha Land in his village Kheda Kalan and action taken by the police in reference to various letters regarding the illegal encroachment of Gram Sabha land sent to the police by the BDO, Alipur. The Respondent, on the other hand, though they admit that several references have been received by them from the BDO, Alipur, Delhi, state that the concerned SHO could not take any action because the BDO, Alipur, Delhi did not provide necessary information like encroachment removal programme, the name and address of the persons who have encroached the Grand Sabha land, measurement of the plot which has been encroached and the area, the time and date on which the Gram Sabha Land was encroached, separate complaint for each plot, ownership of land encroached, etc.

After hearing the parties and on perusal of the relevant documents on file and having regard to the facts and circumstances of the present case, the Commission is surprised at the attitude of the concerned SHO. The Commission finds that the BDO, the concerned officer dealing with the village panchayat land, had informed the police about the illegal encroachment of village land. Instead of seeking details like the name of the encroacher, date on which Gram Sabha Land, encroached property, measurement of plot encroached and separate complaint for encroachment of which plot etc., the SHO, should have effectively co­ordinated with the concerned BDO and taken action for removing the illegal encroachment from the Gram Sabha Land, as per the law. The Commission observes that the SHO unnecessarily tried to cause delay in the matter. Though literally the Respondent have tried to show to the Commission that necessary information has been furnished to the Appellant, the Commission cannot lose sight of the basic purpose of the RTI Act, i.e. transparency and accountability in the administration. Here, the observations of the Hon'ble Supreme Court regarding encroachment on Gram Sabha Land in Sh. Jagpal Singh & Ors. Vs State of Punjab & Ors., Civil Appeal NO. 1132 of 2011 are relevant:­

"Since time immemorial there have been common lands inhering in the village communities in India, variously called gram sabha land, gram panchayat land, (in many North Indian States), shamlat deh (in Punjab etc.), mandaveli and poramboke land (in South India), Kalam, Maidan, etc., depending on the nature of user. These public utility lands in the villages were for centuries used for the common benefit of the villagers of the village such as ponds for various purposes e.g. for their cattle to drink and bathe, for storing their harvested grain, as grazing ground for the cattle, threshing floor, maidan for playing by children, carnivals, circuses, ramlila, cart stands, water bodies, passages, cremation ground or graveyards, etc. These lands stood vested through local laws in the State, which handed over their management to Gram Sabhas/Gram Panchayats. They were generally treated as inalienable in order that their status as community land be preserved. There were no doubt some exceptions to this rule which permitted the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat to lease out some of this land to landless labourers and members of the scheduled castes/tribes, but this was only to be done in exceptional cases.

4. The protection of commons rights of the villagers were so zealously protected that some legislation expressly mentioned that even the vesting of the property with the State did not mean that the common rights of villagers were lost by such vesting.

What we have witnessed since Independence, however, is that in large parts of the country this common village land has been grabbed by unscrupulous persons using muscle power, money power or political clout, and in many States now there is not an inch of such land left for the common use of the people of the village, though it may exist on paper. People with power and pelf operating in villages all over India systematically encroached upon communal lands and put them to uses totally inconsistent with its original character, for personal aggrandizement at the cost of the village community. This was done with active connivance of the State authorities and local powerful vested interests and goondas. This appeal is a glaring example of this lamentable state of affairs. The appellants herein were trespassers who illegally encroached on to the Gram Panchayat land by using muscle power/money power and in collusion with the officials and even with the Gram Panchayat. We are of the opinion that such kind of blatant illegalities must not be condoned. Even if the appellants have built houses on the land in question they must be ordered to remove their constructions, and possession of the land in question must be handed back to the Gram Panchayat. Regularizing such illegalities must not be permitted because it is Gram Sabha land which must be kept for the common use of villagers of the village.

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. Regularization should only be permitted in exceptional cases e.g. where lease has been granted under some Government notification to landless labourers or members of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, or where there is already a school, dispensary or other public utility on the land." [

In view of the above the Commission deems it fit to bring the matter to the notice of Ms. Chhaya Sharma, Dy. Commissioner of Police / FAA. She may depute some senior officer to take appropriate action on the several complaints of illegal encroachment on the Gram Sabha Land and provide complete action taken report / enquiry report to the Appellant, within 30 days of receipt of this order.

[ With these directions the matter is disposed of on the part of the Commission.

(Sushma Singh)

Information Commissioner

Authenticated true copy

(S. Padmanabha)

Under Secretary & Dy. Registrar

Copy to:
1. Sh. Suidhir Singh Rana
President Yuva Chetna Samaj Sudhar Sangthan
Khera Kalan
2. Ms. Chhaya Sharma
Dy. Commissioner of Police & FAA
Police Headquarters,.
M.S.O. Building,
New Delhi­110 002
3. The Public Information Officer
Addl. Dy. Commissioner of Police­I
Outer Dist., Pushpanjali
Road No. 43
4. The Appellate Authority
Dy. Commissioner of Police
Outer Dist., Pushpanjali
Road No. 43

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Other Courts: Thressamma Varkey @ Thankamma vs Athirampuzha Grama Panchayath


WP(C).No. 38230 of 2010(C)


... Petitioner



... Respondent




For Respondent: No Appearance

The Hon'ble MR. Justice C.T.RAVIKUMAR

Dated: 16/03/2011




W.P.(C)No.38230 of 2010


Dated 16th March, 2011


The petitioner is conducting a small bunk in Ward No.7 of Athirampuzha Grama Panchayat at a place near to Chandhakkulam and engaged in the business of selling dry fish. Invoking the provisions under the Kerala Panchayat Raj (Removal of Encroachment and Imposition and Regulation of Penalty for unauthorised Occupation) Rules 1996 (for short `the Rules) steps were taken by the Panchayat to evict the petitioner. Feeling aggrieved by the steps taken by the Panchayat for that behalf the petitioner took up the matter before the Tribunal for Local Self Government Institutions by filing Revision Petition No.97 of 2010. The said revision petition was allowed and the impugned decision No.3(4) dated 7.7.2010 and notice dated 29.5.2010 viz., Exts. P5 and P6 respectively were set aside by the Tribunal, as is obvious from Ext. P7. Consequently, a direction was issued to the Panchayat to initiate fresh proper proceedings as per Rules 3 and 5 of the Rules without any delay, if there are any reason for doing so. In compliance with Ext. P7 the second respondent issued Ext. P8 notice requiring the petitioner to vacate the illegal occupation within 15 days from the date of receipt of Ext. P8. It also carried a caution that in case of her failure to comply with the said direction coercive steps would be taken and she would also be held liable for fine in accordance with the provisions. On receipt of Ext. P8, the petitioner responded to the same. Thereafter, she was afforded with an opportunity of being heard. Subsequently, Ext. P9 order was passed. As per Ext. P9, it was decided to evict the petitioner from the encroachment in terms of the provisions under the Rules and to effect recovery of the necessary expenses. It was also decided to impose a fine in terms of the note to Rule 3(1). It is in the said circumstances that this writ petition has been filed.

2. The petitioner is challenging Exts.P8 and P9. Consequential relief of issuance of writ of mandamus commanding respondents 1 and 2 to provide alternate accommodation to the petitioner to conduct the sale of dry fish in any other nearby place available in the Panchayat is also made in this writ petition.

3. A careful scanning of the contentions raised in this writ petition would reveal that there is no grievance for the petitioner that the action initiated against the petitioner is in violation of the salutary principle of audi alteram partem. She was issued with notice of hearing and she was heard in the matter. The petitioner did not have a case that she is occupying the place in question and conducting business in the bunk in Ward No.9 after obtaining the requisite licence and permit from the Panchayat. On the other hand, virtually, the petitioner admits that the occupation is unauthorised and as such, it can only be illegal. When a person has committed encroachment of public property and retain it for his/her own use, necessarily the competent authorities are under legal obligation to evict the trespassers from the public property. In fact, it is for that precise purpose that the above mentioned Rules have been framed. The action on the part of the respondents are only in tune with the relevant provisions therein. In that view of the matter, I am of the view that the action on the part of the respondents cannot be styled as ultra vires. It is well within the jurisdiction. Therefore, there is no scope for any interference with Exts. P5, P7, P8 and P9 and they call for no judicial review. I am fortified in my view by a recent decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Jagpal Singh and others v. State of Pubjab and others (ILR 2011 (1) Kerala 491). Evidently, the Hon'ble Apex Court while parting with the said decision given directions to all the State Governments in the country to prepare schemes for eviction of illegal and unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/ Poramboke/Shamlat land and observed that these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village.

In the above circumstances, this writ petition is devoid of any merits and accordingly, it is dismissed.





// true copy //

P.S. to Judge

Monday, June 25, 2012

In Other Courts: Vijay Pratap Narain Singh Vs Bhagwan Prasad Tiwari And Others

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

?Court No. - 4

Case:- WRIT – C No. - 11016 of 2012

Petitioner:- Vijay Pratap Narain Singh
Respondent:- Bhagwan Prasad Tiwari And Others
Petitioner Counsel:- S.K. Mishra
Respondent Counsel:- C.S.C.,Anuj Kumar, S.K. Tripathi

Hon'ble Prakash Krishna, J.
Issue notice to respondent no. 1.

Respondents no. 2, 6 & 7 are represented by learned standing counsel and counsel for Gaon Sabha. Notices on behalf of 3 & 4 have been accepted by Shri S.K. Tripathi. Respondent no. 5 is present in person who accepts the notice.

Respondent no. 5 submits that in view of directions given by the Apex Court in the case of Jagpal Singh & others v. State of Punjab & others, 2011 AIR SCW 990, proceedings are being initiated against unauthorized occupants by Gaon Sabha. According to him, the petitioner is one of those occupants.

As prayed, two weeks time is granted to file counter affidavit. Rejoinder affidavit, if any, may be filed within a period of one week thereafter.

List on 16th March, 2012.

By way of clarification, it may be added that pendency of the writ petition will not come in the way of the court below to dispose of the application and appeal relating to grant of temporary injunction.

(Prakash Krishna,J)
Order Date :- 28.2.2012
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, June 19, 2012

HC decides in favour of villagers

Sets aside panchayat order, disallows upcoming DAV University to use village common land

Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 9
In a major setback to the management of the upcoming DAV University on Pathankot Road, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has set aside an order of the Sarmastpur village panchayat by disallowing the university to include a village common land as a part of its campus.

The DAV College Management Committee had managed to exchange 4 kanal 17 marla from the gram panchayat for setting up DAV University in lieu of another land nearby measuring 6 kanals through orders dated September 21, 2011. Five petitions were filed against the orders wherein residents claimed that they had been using the village land (khasra no. 342 and 193) as paths to their fields and the decision had deprived them access to their land.

The university authorities had also offered to provide the panchayat with another passage which would be metalled and all expenses were to be borne by the university. Besides, the university authorities also offered fee concession to the poor and disabled persons of Sarmastpur and adjoining villages, admission on priority and jobs to residents.

However, the court found that Section 5 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act 1961 had not been fully complied with during the exchange of land. The section reads: “A panchayat, if it is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for the benefit of the inhabitants of the village, may with the prior approval of the government transfer any land in shamilat deh by exchange with the land of an equivalent (value)”. The court said that the resolution and other supporting material must reveal that the exchange was ‘necessary’ for the benefit of the inhabitants.

The judgment reads that the exchange rather was necessary for DAV University as the village path through the campus was rather perceived as a difficulty and interruption for the authorities themselves. “A necessity of the university cannot be said to be a necessity of inhabitants of the village,” it is mentioned.

Even as the counsel for the university pointed towards the benefits of getting two kanals in excess, metalled road, preferential admission, fee concession and jobs, the judges contended that these did not did not fulfil the criteria of necessity as set out in the 1964 rules.

“If submissions made by counsel are accepted, it would lead to all sorts of unscrupulous elements offering extra land to the gram panchayat and divesting it of its prime property. The fact that the university may have raised construction over the land of the paths cannot be a reason enough to reject the petition. We allow the petition and set aside panchayat order. We, however, grant an opportunity to the government to reconsider the matter and determine whether the exchange is necessary for the benefit of villagers. The needful be done within a month of receipt of copy,” the judgment reads.

The case
The DAV College Management Committee had managed to exchange 4 kanal 17 marla from the gram panchayat for setting up DAV University in lieu of another land nearby measuring 6 kanals through orders dated September 21, 2011. Five petitions were filed against the orders wherein residents claimed that they had been using the village land (khasra no. 342 and 193) as paths to their fields and the decision had deprived them access to their land.

Copyright: The Tribune Trust, 2007

Friday, June 15, 2012

Govt bans sale, transfer of panchayat common land

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Jun 13 2012, 03:45 hrs

In a fresh set of instructions, the Punjab government has banned the sale or transfer of land owned by the village panchayats or those reserved for common purpose.

The Financial Commissioner (Revenue), NS Kang, in a letter to all the deputy commissioners has stated the land owned by gram panchayats, or which is reserved for common purpose and is recorded as shamlat deh or jumla mustarka malkhan can neither be sold or transferred. As per the sources, the letter states that if any registration of such land has already taken place, then its mutation should be put on hold till further orders.

The letter also cites directions to this extent given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on a petition filed by residents of Mohali district. The court, while hearing another case, had constituted a tribunal under the chairmanship of Justice Kuldeep Singh, who retired from Supreme Court, to inquire into the sale and unauthorized division of panchayat, government and jumla mustarka malkhan land. The tribunal was set up after a petition alleged that 60 VIPs owned land, which was a part of the village shamlat deh. Selling and buying of shamlat deh land by private individuals is illegal under the Punjab Village Common Land (Regulations) Rules, 1964.

© 2012 The Indian Express Limited. All rights reserved

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Encroachments removed, pond gets new life

TNN Jun 7, 2012, 05.04AM IST

Chennai: A 50-year-old pond in Jamin Pallavaram got a new lease of life on Wednesday after a team of revenue officials led by Tambaram revenue divisional officer S Etiappan demolished encroachments on the banks of the water body. The officials demolished an illegal concrete foundation built on a portion of the pond.

Wednesday's action is the preliminary step to restore the pond spread across 1.44 acres. Based on complaints from residents, revenue officials oversaw demolition of a concrete foundation at 11am.

Before constructing the foundation, some residents had dumped garbage to encroach upon the water source. "Though residents do not fetch water from the pond now, the water body helps recharge the water table in the locality. With the increase in land value, water bodies have become easy targets of encroachers," said K Shanmugam, a resident.

Revenue officials have also started identification of other encroachments, mostly houses, around the water body. With the help of police and local body, the revenue officials would demolish the illegal structures soon. "Most of these encroachments are nearly 50 years old. There are about 60 such buildings. Any demolition of these structures will create a law and order problem. Based on a detailed survey, we will rope in stakeholders including resident welfare associations, police and the local body to remove the encroachments," said a revenue official.

Officials of the Pallavaram municipality said many water bodies within its limits are being renovated by deepening and de-silting them. A proposal including cost to renovate the pond in Jamin Pallavaram will be tabled at the council meeting of the municipality this month.

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

HC denies relief to property dealer in Noida encroachment case

Express news service : Allahabad, Sat Jun 09 2012, 04:27 hrs

The Allahabad High Court today refused to grant relief to property dealer Devendra Kumar Gangal, against whom an FIR has been registered in Noida for allegedly constructing a hotel on encroached gram sabha land. The FIR had been registered against Gangal on June 3.

Rejecting Gangal’s plea seeking stay on his arrest, a division bench of Justices Arun Tandon and Surendra Kumar Singh said that no relief could be granted at this stage. However, if the petitioner approaches lower court with plea seeking stay on his arrest, the same should be heard expeditiously, the court said.

The Noida Authority, through its Chief Executive Officer, had forwarded a complaint to the District Magistrate (Gautam Budh Nagar) against Gangal for allegedly encroaching gram sabha land and constructing Golf View Hotel in Sector-37 of Noida. It was alleged that the hotel was constructed nearly two years ago without any proper approval for building plans. The complaint said that Gangal was allegedly close to some officials who were then in charge and were considered close to top leaders in the BSP government.

© 2012 The Indian Express Limited. All rights reserved

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Congman upset over land allotted to central public sector undertakings

Rajiv Shah, TNN Jun 6, 2012, 12.27AM IST

GANDHINAGAR: A senior Congress leader from Bharuch, known to be close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political advisor Ahmed Patel, has strongly protested against what has called "encroachment" of common village land by two Central government public sector undertakings (PSUs). Congress whip Iqbal Patel has claimed that Petronet LNG and Oil and Natural Gas Natural Commission (ONGC) are carrying out commercial activities on government land in Vagra taluka.

In his representation, Iqbal Patel has taken strong exception to Petronet LNG having "cornered" 50 hectares (ha) of land, belonging to Moje-Luvara village of Vagra in Bharuch district. In his letters to top state officials, including principal secretary for revenue, principal secretary for industry, and managing director of Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), he has sought "immediate cancellation" of allocation of land to both Petronet LNG and ONGC saying it is "against the law".

The letter to principal secretary, revenue, says, "The 50 ha land which has been given to Petronet LNG is government wasteland. The allocation of land to the PSU is illegal. The land is meant for common use of villagers. With the land having gone, villagers have been deprived of common facilities like school, grazing for cattle, playground for children, and village pond."

Patel said, "Despite the fact that the village sarpanch,Niruaben Jayantibhai Ahir, represented to the authorities concerned, including the mamlatdar and the authorities in the local Dahej GIDC estate, the government has refused to act. Therefore, I decided to act on behalf of the villagers, as the area is part of my assembly constituency." The village has apopulation of 1,400.

Both Ahmed Patel and Iqbal Patel hail from Bharuch. Legislator from minority-dominated Vagra, he is a long-time protege of the Congress president's advisor. He told TOI, "I have asked Petronet LNG to reject the land offered by the state government, but they have not responded positively so far." He said, he had also raised objection to ONGC, "encroaching" 6.44 ha of land in the vicinity of the village.

Patel, who handed over copies of his letters to TOI, said, "Big industrial units are being handed over prized land, acquired by the GIDC in Dahej region, at a very cheap rate. Cornering common village land is illegal. "

© 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Developer stopped from raising structures on 'shamlat', riverbed

Sanjeev Verma, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 20, 2012

Hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the Satbgarh gram panchayat of Dera Bassi tehsil in SAS Nagar district challenging illegal possession of "shamlat deh"(village common land) and Ghaggar riverbed, measuring around 98 acres, by Shipra Estates and other private parties, the Punjab and Haryana high court has put stay on possession of land till July.

The decision came from the division bench headed by justice Rajive Bhalla last week while proceeding ex-parte against Shipra Estates as counsel for the developers failed to appear for hearing of the case.

Maximum piece of land under challenge had been purchased by Shipra Estates from villagers for constructing a residential colony in 2007. As the developers had not started construction at the site till date, it had now been restrained by the high court from raising any construction and further sale of land.

Petitioners, including gram panchayat, Sukhwinder Pal and Avtar Singh Nagla, had challenged the orders passed by the director, rural development and panchayats, on May 18, 2011, and orders dated July 25, 2006, by the collector-cum-divisional director, rural development and panchayats, Patiala. The orders, which had given possession of the land in question to the private parties instead of village panchayat, have been stayed by the high court.

During the hearing of case, the bench also observed that "Gair mumkin Ghaggar" (land around riverbed of Ghaggar and not cultivable) had also been sold to the developers.

The bench, while finding the presence of advocate general, Punjab, Ashok Aggarwal in the court questioned him as to what had made the authorities to sell even the "rivers" of the state to developers. To this, the advocate general assured the court of that he would look into the case and apprise it about the facts.

The petitioners had submitted that the private parties had filed a petition in front of the collector-cum-divisional director, rural development and panchayats, Patiala, for declaring them as owners of the land in question stating that they were in possession of the land prior to January 26, 1950, and the authorities passed orders in their favour in 2006 after which the land was sold to Shipra Estates in 2007.

Later, the order was challenged by the gram panchayat of Satbgarh before the director, rural development and panchayats, which was upheld by the director on May 18, 2011.

As per village panchayat, since the sarpanch and panchayat member Naranjan Singh were beneficiaries of this land, they did not pursue the matter properly before the authorities. It was informed that since 1951-52 till date "jamabandies"(revenue records), the land in question is described as "shamlat".

Monday, June 4, 2012

The order from government of Maharashtra over Supreme Court Judgment regarding removal of encroachment over common lands

This is a translation of the  order attached at the end.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                         July 12, 2011

1. Since British era certain land in the villages have been vested with the Gram Panchayat for common purposes, such as grazing, threshing, for festivities, graveyards, footpath, as village ponds etc. The entitlement rights are vested with the gram Panchayat. Recently the unauthorized usage of such land has increased tremendously. It is affecting the basic rights of the villagers and resulting in shortage of availability of the land. It brings strain on village resources in fulfilling of the basic necessities of the villagers. Encroachment on the common land, unauthorized construction and unauthorized usage are affecting village grazing land and land under other common uses.

2. The grazing land is usually vested or entrusted with the Gram Panchayat. While often such land is being utilized for building religious structures, commercial constructions are allotted to people with vested interests. No actions are taken against it either by the Gram Panchayat or by the revenue department. These results in less or no land remaining for common purposes.

3. The procedure for the allotment of the grazing land has been defined with the revenue and forest department, government order no. 1078/2616/777/G-2, dated 6.3.1984. According to the order, the land under grazing can be considered to be diverted to other purposes only in case when there is no other land available and the land under grazing is not falling below 5% of the total land under cultivation.

4. In the milieu of these provisions the allotment of the land for basic necessities such as water supply, health centers, school or state/centre sponsored energy projects became cumbersome. Hence a new government order revenue and forest department no land 1019/1017/P.N.- 59/J-1, dated 28.6.1999 was passed stating, 
In order to achieve a holistic development of the village, if the land is required for the provision of water supply, school, health center, energy supply and if there is no other government land available with the village, in such cases if there is no land available for diversion then the provisions for the land under grazing not falling below 5% of the total land under cultivation can be relaxed in order to avail the land. While doing so, the relaxation of the provision needs to be specifically mentioned in the Gram Panchayat resolution which needs to be approved / recommended by the executive officer of the concerned Zilla Parishad.”

5. According to Revenue and Forest department Government order No land 08/2008/P.N.113/J-1, dated 28.5.2010, it is mandatory to mention the Gram Sabha resolution along with Gram Panchayat resolution while diverting the land under grazing.

6. According to the order dated 28.11.1911, the encroachments on the common land by the backward class or other landless class made between 01.04.1978 to 14.05.1990 shall be regularized while the other unauthorized encroachments shall be removed.

7. The Supreme court judgement dated 28.01.2011 in case of civil appeal no 1132/2011@SLP(C) 3109/2011 Jagpal Singh and others Vs. State of Punjab and other cases regarding the land entrusted with the Gram Panchayat for the common purpose usage can be read as follows –

a. The common village land and grazing land are in custody of villages since ages and have been observed for multipurpose uses. For instance, providing drinking water to the cattle, ponds for washing, as seasonal food storage, roads, footpath, playing ground, recreation, circus, Ramlila ground, parking of bullock cart, water resources, open spaces, grave yard, cremation ground etc. while its entitlement rights were reserved with the government. In order to preserve their utility as the common lands they were classified as inalienable. Even though in certain exceptional cases, the land was complied to allot to the landless labourer, people from schedule caster/tribes etc. The villagers common land rights were preserved deliberately and declared so by elaborating “though the entitlement of such land lies in hand of government, the common usage rights of people are safeguarded.” While the anti social elements have used the muscle, fiscal as well as political power to acquire such land. Hence a plan of action shall be prepared with immediate effect to remove all the encroachment on the common land and it shall be handed over to the Gram Panchayat for public utility.

b. In connection with this plan the encroachers shall be issued a show-cause notice to be followed by a fast track hearing and the encroachment shall be removed immediately.

c. The structures under encroachments can’t be legalized or protected due to long existence or large expenditure over its construction. And such activity shall not be regularized.

d. The already existing constructions made with the directives of the government order in concern of landless labourers or scheduled castes / tribes, school, health centers and constructions of public utility shall be excluded from this action.

In this concern government has taken following steps in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment.

8. In accordance with the Honorable Supreme Court Judgment, the government is issuing orders to the Local Self government (Gram Panchayat, Nagar Palika, Nagar Parishad etc) to prepare an action plan to remove the encroachment on the common village lands or grazing land even if the structure has bear a large expenditure or existing since a long time as per the above mentioned provision from Paragraph 7(4). The concerned Tehsildar, Public Work and department and police administration shall contribute to this program to every possible extend. All concerned departments shall look into it as a social responsibility and ensure that such encroachment shall not take place in future.

9.a. In future grazing land shall be used only for the programs of public utility and public purposes undertaken by the state or central government that too only in case when no other land is available.

b. The grazing land shall not be allotted to any person, private institute or organization for any purpose.

c. While allotting land under provision no (2), observe following conditions –

i. A specific resolution to be passed by the Gram Sabha as well as Gram Panchayat approving the diversion of the land use.
ii. The said resolution shall be approved by the chief executive officer, Zilla Parishad.
iii. The Bonafide Area requirement shall be verified while diverting the land and hence the proposed plan and maps shall be accompanying the proposal.

d. In case of confusion in concern of public purpose and public utility consult the state government.

e. The case of diversion in usage of grazing land as well as the land vested with the Gram Panchayat shall be verified carefully to insure the following of procedures in accordance with the Hon. Supreme Court orders.

This GR has been issued in consultation with the rural development dept, law and order dept.

This GR has been published on the website of Government of Maharashtra with the code no 2011713162106001.

By order and name of Governor of Maharashtra

                                                                                      S.S. Kshatriya
                                                  Chief Secretary, Revenue and Forest department

Copy of the scanned order