Monday, June 4, 2018

Civil court order giving private owners Gwalpahari land ownership stayed

Shubra Pant|Times of India| May 22, 2018

The Gwalpahari land dispute has taken another turn, with the sessions court on Monday ordering a stay on the Gurugram civil court’s ruling that ownership of the land rests with private entities and not the municipal corporation.

The MCG had filed an appeal against the civil judge’s order in the court of lead additional sessions judge JS Kundu.

The order asked all parties in 98 cases to maintain status quo. Caveats have been filed in 20 more cases, which means an order can be passed only after hearing the entity against which the MCG approached court. In total, 322 affected entities have filed 118 different suits in this case, at the heart of which lies 464 acres of prime land in Gwalpahari, off Gurugram-Faridabad road. “As per the Punjab Village Common Land Act, the land belongs to the panchayat,” said MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav.

Private parties in the case refused to comment.

One of the private entities, Metro Valley Projects, had moved the high court over ownership of the land. The high court had transferred the case to the civil court and asked it to adjudicate. In a judgment dated July 2016, the high court had ruled that common land (shamlat deh) in villages that have been notified under municipal corporations but have been contributed by individual land owners to panchayat for agrarian purposes belong to the original individual owners.

In its order on April 16 this year, civil judge Prashant Rana, while deciding in favour of the private entities, had ruled, “The plaintiffs are declared to be owners in possession of their respective suit lands in the cases they have prayed to be declared so.” The judge had also declared all show-cause notices issued by MCG to the private parties as illegal and void.

The ownership of the Gwalpahari land has been the subject of a tussle between the government and private entities since the mid-1950s when a mutation was carried out transferring ownership to the gram panchayat. After that, several Gurugram administrators passed a series of contradictory orders that saw ownership of the land swinging between the private parties and the government.

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