J&K government decides to cancel all land transfers under Roshni Act, retrieve entire land in 6 months

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Jammu, October 31: Jammu and Kashmir Government on Saturday decided to annul all the land mutations transferring state land in favour of its illegal occupants by the previous state governments under provisions of the  J&K State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, also known as Roshni Act.

The decision comes in the wake of the High Court Judgment that declared the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 as amended from time to time as unconstitutional, contrary to law and unsustainable.

Pointing out that it has been found that directions are required to be issued in order to implement the High Court judgement in PIL title Prof S.K. Bhalla vs State of J&K and others and other connected matter, an order issued by the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs ordered that “the  Principal Secretary to Government, Revenue Department shall pass an order declaring all actions taken under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, as amended from time to time, and rules made there under as void ab-initio”. The decision has the approval of the UT’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, it said, adding that “he shall ensure that all the mutations done in furtherance of said Act are annulled’’. 

The Principal Secretary to Government, Revenue Department shall also “work out a plan to retrieve the large tracts of State land vested under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 in a time bound manner,’’ it said, adding that he “shall also work out the modalities and plan to evict encroachers from such State Land and retrieve it within a period of six months’’, besides working out modalities for handling the money received for these lands after annulment.

The Principal Secretary to Government, Revenue Department shall ensure that information regarding district wise State land as on January 1, 2001 are compiled and posted on the official website as well as NIC (official) website with the details of the State land which was in illegal and unauthorized occupation of person(s)/ entities with full identity of encroachers and particulars of the land, as also the details of the applications received under the Roshni Act, 2001;  the valuation of the land;  the amounts paid by the beneficiary; the orders passed under the Roshni Act; and  the persons in whose favour the vesting was done and also further transfers, if any, recognized and accepted by the authorities.

He shall also ensure posting on the official website complete identities of all influential persons (including ministers, legislators, bureaucrats, government officials, police officers, businessmen etc.) their relatives or persons holding benami for them, who have derived benefit under the Roshni Act, 2001/ Roshni Rules 2007 and/or occupy State lands. The said action shall be completed within a period of one month, the order read.

The Divisional Commissioners, Jammu as well as Kashmir, shall place on record before the High Court containing district-wise full details of the encroached State land not covered by the Roshni Act, Rules, Scheme(s), order(s) which continues to be under illegal occupation; the full identity and particulars of the land and person(s)/entities encroaching the same. The Revenue Secretary shall ensure that this information is also posted on the website. The action taken in the aforesaid matter shall be shared by the Revenue Department with the General Administration Department on a weekly basis, it added.