Tuesday, November 26, 2013

JUSTICE KULDIP SINGH SPECIAL TRIBUNAL REPORT PART X : Punjab Land Grab - Scandal right under the nose of state govt

Continuing with the series, The Tribune today reproduces operative portions of the report pertaining to Nada village

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 18

The Special Tribunal headed by Justice Kuldip Singh has held that Village Nada was a "classic example" of huge Gram Panchayat land measuring more than 200 acres having been "grabbed systematically with the connivance of the Gram Panchayat and the Revenue officials" in Village Nada, which was less than three kilometres from the Punjab Civil Secretariat in Chandigarh.

Since the "land grab scandal" was operating right under the nose of the authorities who are supposed to safeguard the Panchayat Lands, the Tribunal said that the Punjab & Haryana High Court may take congnizance and direct the State Government to free the lands of illegal occupation. Among others, the Report names H. Bajwa, the wife of senior Congress leader, Fateh Jang Singh Bajwa.

The Special Tribunal reached this deduction on the basis of its scrutiny of the revenue records. It held, "Consolidation in the village took place in the year 1962-63 and Misl Hakiat was prepared at that time. The total area of the village is 17773 Kanal 11 Marla. The total area of Gram Panchayat is 16113 Kanal 13 Marla. The personally owned land of the village is only 1659 Kanal 18 Marla. As per the record, 48 Kanal 12 Marla was transferred to Provincial Government (Capital Project) and the remaining land was given the title of Shamlat deh Hasab Rasad Jar Khewat.

“The record shows that on 17.8.1985, Mutation No.1057 was entered by the Village Patwari and column No. 13 (type of mutation) records, “Kiami Hisses“ as per cut imposed during consolidation and as per Naksha Haqdaran war. There is no order from any authority or court for apportioning the shares. This mutation was sanctioned on 2.5.1986 vide which 576 Kanal 16 Marla of Jumla Mustraka Malkan land was apportioned by way of shares in the names of Kauri etc. In the remarks column of Mutation No.1057, it is recorded that Dhanna Ram, Sarpanch and other right holders had filed an application for determination of the shares of right holders and it was on that application that Mutation No.1057 was entered. In this way, out of the total area of 718 Kanal 16 Marla of Jumla Mustraka Malkan shares were apportioned in respect of 576 Kanal and only 142 Kanal 19 Marla remained with Jumla Mustraka Malkan.

“576 kanal land consists of Gair Mumkin Nadi (476 Kanal 8 Marla), Gair Mumkin Khala (84 Kanal 0 Marla) and Gair Mumkin Panchayat Ghar (11 Kanal 12 Marla). It is, thus, very clear that no part of the land measuring 576 Kanal was capable of being partitioned and no actual physical possession was ever delivered to any of the so-called right holders through the process of Revenue Department.

“The matter does not end with the sanction of Mutation No.1057 but the greed of land grabbers is evident by the subsequent events. On record, there is a photo copy of Mutation No.1313 based on Jamabandi of 1993-94.

This mutation as per Column No.13 has been entered for ”Kiami Hisses Barue Darkhast We Hukan Janab Tehsildar Sahib dt“. It pertains to 1009 Kanal 13 Marla of land owned by Shamlat deh Hasab Rasad Jar Khewat and was shown to be in the possession of Malkan. The mutation was entered by Kuldip Singh, Patwari without any date. It also bears signatures of Dalip Singh, Joridar Patwari dt 26.7.1994. Through this mutation, 300688 shares were worked out in the name of Smt. Kauri etc. Before any decision regarding sanction/ rejection of this mutation No.1313 could be taken, the shareholders shown in column No. 9 of the mutation started selling the land in anticipation of sanction of the mutation and 78 sale deeds were executed in the month of June & July, 1994 and 78 mutations bearing No.1317 to 1394 were entered on 13, 14, 16 & 17 February, 1995 and sanctioned on 24.2.1995. However, original Mutation No.1313 was rejected on 28.7.1994 by A. C-2nd Grade. Needless to mention that there was no order or direction from any authority or court for determination of the shares of right holders. Harbhajan Singh Kahlon and his family, who were the largest purchasers of the land filed a civil suit in Kharar seeking a declaration that they were the owners in possession of the land purchased by them vide Mutation No.1317 to 1394 and a mandatory injunction was sought directing defendants (Revenue Officers) to incorporate the effect of Mutations No.1317 to 1394 in jamabandi for 1998-99. Mutation No.1313 which was rejected by A.C-2nd Grade was also challenged.

“However, the suit filed by the petitioners (by Kahlon family) was dismissed by civil court on 11.3.2002. First appeal filed by them was dismissed by the Additional District Judge, Ropar on 22.8.2003. RSA No. 281 of 2004 was filed before the Hon’ble High Court which was admitted on 27.2.2004 when the order dt 30. 12. 2003 passed by the Commissioner, Patiala Division directing the implementation of the mutation on the basis of the sale deeds was brought to its notice. No interim relief was granted. Kahlon family approached the Commissioner, Patiala Division by way of application bearing No.MA 382 of 2003, praying for review of Mutation No.1313 of village Nada and for sanctioning the same and for implementation of Mutation Nos.1317 to 1394.

“While on the revenue side, Kahlon family was able to obtain a favourable order from the Commissioner, Patiala on 30.12.2003, the matter remained pending in the High Court by way of RSA No.281 of 2004. An application was moved by Kahlon family on 12.1.2007 before Collector, Mohali for sanction of Mutation Nos.1313, 1317 to 1394 on the basis of the order dated 30.12.2003 passed by the Commissioner, Patiala Division. On the application CM No.4341 of 2005 moved by Kahlon family, RSA No.281 of 2004 was disposed of on 6.6.2007 as having been rendered in fructuous. They again approached the revenue authorities for entering Mutation Nos. 1317 to 1394 on the basis of Mutation No.1313 having been sanctioned by the Commissioner Patiala on 30.12. 2003 but the matter remained pending till November, 2007 when revenue authorities held that since the suit still remains pending, therefore the orders passed by the Commissioner could not be implemented.

"Kahlon family again filed CM No.11430-C of 2007 in CM No.4341-C of 2005 in RSA No.281 of 2004 seeking clarification/ modification of the order dated 6.2.2007 and for allowing them to withdraw the main suit. That petition was allowed by the High Court by the order dated 22.1 2008 and the order dated 6.2.2007 was modified to the effect that the petitioner had been permitted to withdraw the main suit.

After withdrawal of the main suit according to the petitioners there was no hurdle in the implementation of Mutation Nos. 1317 to 1394 and also because the Gram Panchayat vide resolution dt 25.3.1994 had admitted the claim of the proprietors of Nada qua the land comprised in Khasra No.129/1. Since Mutation No. 1317 to 1394 were not being implemented despite repeated representations, Writ Petition No.9488 of 2008 was filed by the Kahlon family in the High Court on 26.5.2008. The said writ petition was disposed of with direction to the Naib Tehsildar, Majri to decide the representation of the petitioners expeditiously preferably within two months. As of today, all the mutations i.e.1313, 1317 to 1394 stand sanctioned and implemented in the record. "We have tried to verify the possession as per the revenue record.

"Village Nada is a classic case where huge Gram Panchayat deh measuring 16113 Kanal is being grabbed systematically with the active connivance of the Gram Panchayat and the Revenue officers/ officials. ..... The Hon’ble High Court may direct the State Govt to do the needful in all those cases."

(To be continued)

Didn’t buy shamlat land: BS Sandhu

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 18
Reacting to a news item published in The Tribune on November 10 on the basis of the Justice Kuldip Singh Special Tribunal report on illegal occupation of shamlat land by him, Lt Col BS Sandhu (retd) claimed that as per revenue records, the land he had purchased was not a shamlat land.

In a statement, Sandhu said: “From the year 1890-1991, the co-sharers in the shamlat deh were in individual cultivating possession of the land of Karoran village, according to the revenue record assessed on their holding. Even the Vajib- Ul- Araz of the year 1916-17 of Karoran village shows the shamlat land to be in cultivating possession of co-sharers”. He claimed that due to wrong mutation no. 1747, dated August 10, 1977, the ownership of the land was changed which was challenged by the co-sharers. After litigation, the matter was ultimately referred to Assistant Collector, Kharar, who did not decide the case for long. Thereforem a direction dated November 24,1992, was issued by Financial Commissioner, Revenue, to finalise the case without delay.

“This order was challenged by the gram panchayat by way of CWP No. 12610 of 1999 in the Punjab & Haryana High Court which was dismissed on September 7, 1999 by a Division Bench. The review petition was also dismissed on May 4, 2000 and no SLP was filed and thus the order became final”, said Sandhu.

The Assistant Collector, Kharar, thereafter set aside the mutation No. 1747 on April 2, 1993, which was not challenged by gram panchayat Karoran and became final.

Copyright : The Tribune Trust, 2012

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