Relief sought for ‘landless cultivators, marginal landholders’
Srinagar: After naming Roshni beneficiaries publicly, Jammu and Kashmir government has now filed a review petition in the high court seeking “modification” in court’s October 9 order wherein it had quashed Roshni Act and ordered a CBI probe into allotment of land.
Last month, a division bench of Jammu and Kashmir high court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Binda had ordered a CBI probe after pointing out numerous discrepancies in the Act.
“We would like to bring to the kind notice of the honorable court the fact that a large number of common people would suffer unintentionally. This includes landless cultivators and individuals who are themselves residing in dwellings in small areas. They are unfortunately clubbed along with rich and wealthy land grabbers who have obtained a title over state land through provisions of now struck down act,” said special secretary to the government, revenue department, in a six-page review petition.
The government said that in the past few weeks, following the court’s order, “frauds” have come to light.
“For example (from) multiple transactions on a piece of privately owned land to illegally occupied government land. Detecting fraudulent acts require forensic workers who have knowledge of the mechanism by which this is done. In order to facilitate the CBI investigation, the UT government intends to constitute special teams comprising officials with revenue background to look into such cases of fraud and then pass them on to the CBI for the conclusion of the investigation process,” said the special secretary.
The government said that without technical expertise, cases of fraud would not be easily detected.
“Further these teams would also go into details of encroachment of government land, whether recorded as state land or transferred to development authorities or where ownership rests with various government department/agencies. These teams would also identify instances wherever there has been the wrongful implementation of the Act and Rules thereunder as it stood at that time,” the special secretary said.
Therefore, the government noted, it is “humbly submitted and prayed that the court may kindly modify October 9 order”.
“To the extent to allow the review petition and grant the relief as prayed for above, for the same would be in the interest of justice,” the special secretary said.
Senior advocate Sheikh Shakeel said the government has filed the review petition in the high court. “I will let you know when it will be listed,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
The review petition has been filed at a time when the government has been issuing daily list naming the people who availed the benefits under the Roshni scheme.
Official figures reveal that a total of 604,602 kanals of encroached land was regularized under the Roshni act. It included 571210 kanals in Jammu and 33392 kanals in Kashmir.
However, certain elements are using Roshni as an alibi to fan tensions. A vicious campaign has been unleashed to malign the Muslim community after certain groups raised the bogey of `Land Jihad’ following high court judgment to strike down the Roshni Act.
Fear had gripped land leaseholders after Jammu and Kashmir government started naming the people who have availed benefits under the Roshni scheme. Hundreds of people, who have been holding the lease of land for several decades, were also under the scanner.
Several petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Jammu and Kashmir high court order to quash the Roshni Act.