Monday, April 21, 2014

Vikas Samiti Goner Road v. State of Rajasthan & Ors., CWP (PIL) No.14191/2012

Summary: The below case has been filed by way of a Public interest Litigation against illegal encroachment by land grabbers who have set up residential colonies over public land  reserved for a pond. The petitioner had previously made complaints regarding the same way back in 1996/2006 for which reason the Petition could not be considered at this stage.

The Court, however, held that it would be considered appropriate to grant liberty to the petitioner to make representation in light of the Jagpal Singh Judgement and in furtherance of the circular dated 25.04.2011 issued by the State Government in compliance of the said judgement, apprising the competent authority of the grievance, who after due examination, may pass speaking order within three months thereafter and the final decision may be communicated to the petitioner.

In The High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan
Jaipur Bench, Jaipur
D.B. Civil Writ Petition (PIL) No.14191/2012
Date : 14.11.2013

Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ajay Rastogi
Hon'ble Mr.Justice J.K. Ranka

Mr. R.R. Sharma, for petitioner.

Instant public interest petition has been filed by the vigilant society of whom the petitioner is a social worker & President of Vikas Samiti Goner Road (East) Ghati Karolan Colonies, Jaipur.

The main grievance of the petitioner for invoking jurisdiction of this Court is that the illegal encroachment is rampant going on over the public land which has been reserved for catchment area for resources of water (pond), situated at Khaniya Bandha, Ghat Ki Guni, Jaipur which was constructed in the year 1899 by the then His Highness of Jaipur for supply of water to the villagers of Goner and nearby villages situated at Agra Road. 

His further contention is that the reserved land has been encroached by some of the land grabbers and they have set up residential colonies and as regards the present petitioner, he is fighting with tooth & nail and going from pillar to post by making his complaints to the respective authorities but all his efforts remained in vein and after the legal notice of demand for justice being served, has approached to this Court by filing public interest petition.

As regards the complaints which has been alleged by the petitioner, it pertains to the year 1996/2006 which were made to the respective authorities and after service of legal notice in the year 2012, filed instant public interest petition in this Court. 

He has further brought to our notice that Hon'ble Apex Court in Jagpal Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Punjab & Ors., (Civil Appeal No.1132/2011 @ SLP (C) No.3109/2011), decided on 28.01.2011, while taking cognizance of such alike encroachments nearby pond areas, finally disposing of public interest petition observed as under :-

“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. 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. 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.”

He further submits that in compliance of directions of Hon'ble Apex Court, referred to supra, sent to all the Chief Secretaries of the States, the State Government has also issued circular dt.25.04.2011 but that remains a paper compliance and according to him the respective authority has not given effect to the mandate of law & the circular issued by the State Government and that is the reason for which he has approached to this Court by filing instant public interest petition.

Since the representations/applications made by the petitioner pertain to 1996/2006 and has approached to this Court after serving legal notice in the year 2012, that cannot be considered at this stage, however, we consider it appropriate to grant liberty to the petitioner to make representation in light of the judgment, referred to supra, & in furtherance of the circular issued by the State Government in compliance thereof dt.25.04.2011 apprising of the grievance raised herein to the competent authority, who after due examination, may pass speaking order within three months thereafter and final decision may be communicated to the petitioner who if still feels aggrieved will be at liberty to avail remedy which the law permits to him.

With these directions/observations, the petition stands disposed of.

(J.K. Ranka),J. (Ajay Rastogi),J.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Balbir Singh and Ors. v. State of Haryana and Ors., CWP No. 6068 of 2014

This petition has been filed by Balbir Singh and other petitioners on the matter of encroachment of a village pond in Karnal district. It has been filed due to the inaction of the concerned authorities on the matter despite an order being passed in the matter in 1990.

Referring to the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Jagpal Singh, the Hon'ble Judges called upon the state of Haryana to take action in accordance with law in respect of the encroachments and to inform the court as to what steps have been taken to implement the said judgment of the Supreme Court in the state. The Bench also fixed the date of April 11, 2014 for compliance.



Civil Writ Petition No.6068 of 2014 (O&M) 
DATE OF DECISION: 31.03.2014

Balbir Singh and others          …..Petitioners 


State of Haryana and others       .....Respondents 


Present: Mr. Ravinder Malik, Advocate for the petitioner 

Notice of motion. 

Mr. Ajay Gupta, Addl. Advocate General, Haryana accepts notice on behalf of respondents No.1 to 6. 

A complete set of paper-book be supplied to him during the course of the day. 

The grievance made in the present petition is qua encroachment on the village pond, phirni, etc. in respect of the shamlat land of village Chakda, Tehsil Nissing, District Karnal (Haryana) by villagers and Lambardar of the area, who are petitioners. The encroachment is alleged to be that of husband of the Sarpanch and it is stated that despite an order being passed as far back as 16.8.1990 under Section 7 of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1961, as applicable to State of Haryana, at ground level, nothing has been done. Instructions are stated to have been issued by superior authorities, but to no effect and, thus, the present writ petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuance of appropriate writ, order or direction in public interest to the concerned authorities to take action qua the encroachments. 

A reference has been made to an earlier order passed by us in CWP No.3571 of 2014 on 25.2.2014 where we had relied upon the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Jagpal Singh and others vs. State of Punjab and others, 2011 AIR (SC) 1123 and there is a mandate for the State Governments and Union Territories to take action for protection of the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/ Poramboke/Shamlat land with a scheme for speedy eviction, more so as part of the area is village pond. 

We, thus, call upon the State of Haryana to take action in accordance with law qua the encroachments and inform the Court as to what steps have been taken to implement the said judgment of the Supreme Court in the State. 

The petition accordingly stands disposed of. 

List for compliance on 11.04.2014 when the respondents will file a compliance report at least three days prior to the next date. 




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Over 11,000 encroachments on pastoral land in Gujarat

Times of India
April 2, 2014
Kapil Dave, TNN

Despite Supreme Court's order to clear encroachments and restrict sale of pastoral (gauchar) land, Gujarat still has more than 12,000 cases related to illegal possession of pastoral lands.

The apex court, had in January 2011, stated that "pastoral lands and other community resources belonging to a village shall not be given for industrial or commercial use and should strictly be used for communities' use".

The court had directed all the state governments to formulate schemes for eviction of illegal or unauthorized occupants of land meant for gram sabha, gram panchayat and other community uses and said that "long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure on constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession".

Even after more than three years, the state government has failed to come out with new guidelines or a policy for removing the unauthorized occupants or encroachments on 'gauchar' and other public lands. According to the recent status report of the state government, there are more than 11,950 registered encroachments on 'gauchar' lands, of which majority are more than five years old. According to the state government official figures, highest 'Gauchar' encroachment was registered in Gandhinagar (1,776). It was followed by Patan (1,722), Amreli (1,212), Ahmedabad (1,193) and Mehsana (1,093).

Pastoral land is the common property of a village owned by the government. Despite several restrictions by the Supreme Court and the Gujarat High Court, the government gave away more than 1.16 lakh square metres of 'gauchar' land in last four years in five districts of the state.

In Gujarat, around 424 villages have no pastoral land left. The state should have 39.56 lakh hectares of grazing land, according to a revenue department notification issued in December 1988, which mandated 16 hectares (40 acres) of pastoral land for 100 animals in normal areas and 8 hectares (20 acres) for the same in forest areas.

A senior government official of the state revenue department said, "Encroachers are politically inclined, so local bodies also avoid reporting or removing a encroachment. A lot of encroachments are made by powerful industries and political persons, so administration also doesn't take any action. Only encroachments of small time landless labourers are removed. The new 'gauchar' policy is stuck at the top level.''

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