New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to stay the J&K government’s circular, directing All Deputy Commissioners to remove encroachments on state land including Roshni Land and Kachharie land by the end of this month.
A Division bench of Justices MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar expressed its disclamation in not passing an order today. The bench however made an oral observation, asking the government not to demolish any houses.
“We are not passing any order today. You instruct them orally not to demolish any houses. But we will not grant a general stay…. others should not get the benefit,” the Division Bench orally told the counsel representing J&K, according to the reports.
As the case came up for hearing, counsel for the petitioner took the Court through the reliefs prayed for.
In response to counsel for the petitioner that many Tribals are residing on the land, Justice Shah remarked:“If the stay is granted then it will benefit land grabbers also?”,
The counsel appearing for J&K clarified that the circular is mainly focused on the Roshni land. He also questioned the locus of the applicants.
“The Application was served on me yesterday. It does not even mention that the applicants live there”, he pointed out while adding that the said land only had shops and such establishments.
The Court then adjourned the matter. The matter was mentioned before Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, earlier this week.
The Jammu & Kashmir Government on January 9 had directed all Deputy Commissioners to remove encroachment on such land by January 31, 2023.
Residents were told to either demolish the structures on their own or bear the expenses for the demolition.
In 2001, the Jammu & Kashmir Government enacted a law called the Jammu & Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act, 2001 (popularly known as the Roshni Act) for granting ownership of State land to unauthorized occupants in order to raise funds for power projects in the erstwhile State.
In October 2020, a Division Bench of Justices Gita Mittal and Rajesh Bindal of the High Court declared the Act unconstitutional. All Acts done under it or amendments thereunder were also declared unconstitutional and void ab initio.
The Court had also ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Roshni land scam case, stated to be the biggest ever in the history of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Jammu & Kashmir Government then moved the High Court to review this judgment to a limited extent. It was submitted that while the judgment restored the rule of law by halting the implementation of the unconstitutional Roshni Act, there is also a concern that a large number of common people would suffer unintentionally by reason of the verdict.
At the same time, appeals against the judgment were preferred before the Supreme Court.
Source: Press Trust of India (PTI)