Friday, September 28, 2012

Law breakers can't continue as elected representatives: High Court

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Sep 27, 2012, 01.14AM IST

NAGPUR: Rejecting the petition of a Gram Panchayat member from Pune, who was disqualified for having encroached upon on government land, Bombay High Court has ruled, "wrongdoers, law breakers shouldn't continue as elected representatives".

"It is not in public interest that a wrongdoer or law breaker derives any benefit or advantage of his illegal or wrongful act and continues as an elected representative of a unit of local self- government. That would be a wrong or bad precedent before the people," a single-judge bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari observed.

"The provisions (in Bombay Village Panchayats Act, 1958) are enacted in public interest and to protect them from the activities of undesirable persons. They protect and safeguard against evil or wrongful and immoral acts. Hence, it is for public good that their elected representative are not tainted or immoral or wrongdoers," the judge added before dismissing Dnyaneshwar Satav's plea.

"Equally, when the object and purpose is to discourage and prohibit all such persons who have indulged in illegal and wrongful acts from holding an elected office in a unit of local self government such as a village panchayat, then accepting petitioner's arguments would defeat the same," the court said.

Satav from Kharabwadi village in Pune's Khed town had challenged the additional commissioner's orders disqualifying him from the post of Gram Panchayat member on December 20 last year, as per Bombay Village Panchayats Act, 1958, for allegedly encroaching upon government's land. Earlier, the collector disqualified him for constructing a house, lavatory and Gobar gas plant on the village grazing land under control of the government. Subsequently, he was disabled from continuing as a Gram Panchayat member.

Satav had contested Gram Panchayat polls in June 2010 from general category. During scrutiny, objections were raised by contestant Jalindhar Kharabi about Satav allegedly encroaching upon the government property. However, those were rejected and Satav won the polls. Kharabi then filed an application before collector contending that Satav should be disabled from continuing as a member on the ground that he had encroached upon public property. Accordingly, the collector disqualified him after verifying facts and commissioner endorsed this decision.

Satav denied the allegations in his petition stating that his father and cousin were residing on this land since 1965 and had constructed houses and cowsheds. He contended that queries like eligibility should be raised only during scrutiny of nomination papers and thereafter in an election petition. He prayed for setting aside commissioner's orders disqualifying him.

"If the application filed by the Kharabi is perused in its entirety, it does not only set out the objections that have been raised at the stage of scrutiny of the nomination papers, but equally highlights the fact that there was no enquiry nor a detailed scrutiny into these allegations. Therefore, the petitioner can be held to be disabled to continue as member if the question of his disability is gone into and decided by the collector," the judge ruled.

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Haryana issues instructions to prevent misuse of Shamlat land

Press Trust of India / Chandigarh September 26, 2012, 21:45

The Haryana government today issued instructions to prevent illegal sale, lease, exchange and partition of Shamlat, common village lands owned by gram panchayat. 

"As per the instructions issued by the Development and Panchayats department, the Registrars or Collectors would ensure that the sale deeds in respect to such types of Shamlat land were not registered," a spokesman said. 

Instructions have been issued to all senior officials including divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, additional deputy commissioners in this regard. 

The lands like Shamilat Deh, Panchayat Deh, Shamilat Patti, Jumla Malkan, Mustarka Malkan, Shamilat Panna, Thola, Jarab Patti etc stand vested in the Gram panchayat, he said.

The partition and mutation of such types of land might not be allowed until and unless the title of such land was decided by the competent authority that was Collector, the spokesman said.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Land grant in Challakere challenged

TNN Sep 23, 2012, 02.10AM IST

BANGALORE: A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered notice to the state government, DRDO, IISc, Isro, Barc (Mysore), KSSIDC and KHB with regard to a PIL challenging the government's grant of 8,932 acres of land to these institutions at various villages in Challakere taluk of Chitradurga district. The bench also asked the government advocate to inform the court whether any land is left for cattle grazing.

The petitioners, All India Kisan Sabha, Karnataka state committee, claimed these lands are essentially gomaal (pasture) lands used for grazing of cattle/sheep, a major occupation in an arid area where the average annual rainfall is only 573mm.
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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Criminal action awaits panchayat land grabbers

Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times
SAS Nagar, September 23, 2012

Cracking the whip on encroachers of common village land, the directorate of rural development and panchayats is now initiating criminal proceedings against them. 

As per the official data, the directorate has got about 10 criminal cases registered in Punjab in the past two months against those who have failed to vacate the panchayat land even after the expiry of their lease or losing their claim in court.

The cases have been registered under section 13(a) of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, which provides for 2-year imprisonment.

"We had to resort to getting criminal cases registered to send across a strong message to those in illegal possession of shamlat land that none would be spared," said director (rural development and panchayats) Balwinder Singh Multani.

He said the department had initiated a drive to retrieve panchayat land from illegal possession. "We have got many areas cleared of encroachments. In Patiala, 719 acres of land has been freed of encroachments and the possession has been restored to panchayats. There are about 1,283 warrants of possession ('kabza' warrants), involving 4,000 acres of land, which are pending. In SAS Nagar alone, there are 412 'kabza' warrants awaiting execution for the past two years. We will soon get these cases cleared," said Multani.

He said the land freed of encroachments had been given on rent, thus adding to the revenue of panchayats. "The revenue earned this year from 1.45 lakh acres of land through annual lease is Rs. 219 crore as compared to Rs. 208 crore last year. The revenue generation is likely to further go up through the auction of another 1,200 acres," said Multani.

He said he had already written to the deputy commissioners and SSPs across the state to assist revenue officials in getting 'kabza' warrants executed.


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