16. The present is a case of land recorded as a village pond. This Court in Hinch Lal Tiwari v. Kamala Devi, MANU/SC/0410/2001 : AIR 2001 SC 3215 (followed by the Madras High Court in L. Krishnan v. State of Tamil Nadu, MANU/TN/0660/2005 : 2005 (4) 9 CTC 1 Mad) held that land recorded as a pond must not be allowed to be allotted to anybody for construction of a house or any allied purpose. The Court ordered the respondents to vacate the land they had illegally occupied, after taking away the material of the house. We pass a similar order in this case.
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.
22. Before parting with this case we give directions to all the State Governments in the country that they should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorised occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/ Poramboke/Shamlat land and these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/ Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village. For this purpose the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments/Union Territories in India are directed to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments. The said scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show-cause notice and a brief hearing. 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. Regularisation 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.
After the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Jagpal Singh and others v. State of Punjab and others, MANU/SC/0078/2011 : AIR 2011 SC 1123, followed by some other judgments, upon directions of this Court, the Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Board of Revenue, U.P. Lucknow has issued a circular dated 4th October, 2012. Para-1 of that circular simply refers to certain directions of this Court in a writ petition bearing number 6472 (M/B) of 2012 (On Prakash Verma and others v. State of U.P. and others) and judgments of the Apex Court including that in the case of Jagpal Singh's case (supra), but Para-2 is relevant for the purpose. The same runs as hereunder:
We have noticed that large number of similar writ petitions are being filed only for enforcement of law laid down in the case of Jagpal Singh (supra) and some subsequent judgments.
In view of direction noticed in the aforesaid circular, we are of the considered view that if complaints regarding unauthorised occupation over the public ponds or other similar public lands are received by the District Magistrate of a District, he should take all the required actions in view of law already settled in the case of Jagpal Singh and others.
In case, the District Magistrate finds some good reasons to seek guidance from the Members Committee indicated in Para-2 of the aforesaid circular, then he may refer the matter and seek guidance in appropriate cases.
So far as the present writ petition is concerned, we grant liberty to the petitioner to approach respondent Nos. 2 and 3 again with a certified copy of this order. The concerned respondents shall get appropriate inquiry made and take required action to protect public ponds as per law laid down by the Apex Court, expeditiously.
Let a copy of this order be furnished to the learned Standing Counsel for the State for communication to the Principal Secretary, Revenue, Government of Uttar Pradesh, who shall circulate a copy of this order to all the Divisional Commissioners as well as the District Magistrates so that number of such types of cases coming to this Court may be checked.
The petition is, accordingly, disposed of.