Govt orders cancellation of all Roshni mutations

The government has directed cancellation of all mutations of land vested under Roshni Act.

Mutation is the transfer or change of title made in the revenue records.

A top official informed that all Tehsildars have been directed to cancel Roshni mutations in the revenue records. It has provided that the ownership rights of such lands shall escheat to the government.

“The necessary entry shall be effected in the relevant registers i.e. Jamabandi and Khasra Girdwari. All such records shall be kept under the proper custody in each Tehsil and a consolidated information be furnished to the respective deputy commissioners/divisional commissioners weekly . . . for onward submission to the higher authorities.

“It shall be also ensured that all the illegal entries on state/government lands be cancelled by passing detailed orders, and if any such entry is again found in the revenue records the concerned revenue officer/official shall be held responsible and action warranted under rules shall be taken against him/her.”

Earlier, the High Court of J&K had declared the Roshni Act as unconstitutional. In its order, the HC had noted that a total of 6,04,602 kanals (75,575 acres) of state land had been regularised and transferred to the occupants. This, according to the order, included 5,71,210 kanals (71,401 acres) in Jammu and 33,392 kanals (4174 acres) in the Kashmir province.

The government recently in a statement said that the Principal Secretary to Government, Revenue Department shall work out the modalities and plan to evict encroachers from such state land and retrieve the state land within a period of six months.

The Principal Secretary shall also work out modalities for “handling the money received for these lands after annulment,” it said.

The J&K government on October 31 decided to declare all the actions taken under the Roshni Act, as “null and void”, and decided to retrieve the land within six months.

“The J&K government has decided to implement the High Court order, where it 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,” an official spokesperson had said.

The Roshni Act was enacted during the Dr. Farooq Abdullah regime and targeted to earn Rs 25,000 crore by transferring 20 lakh kanals of State land to existing occupants against payment at market rates.

In 2014, the Comptroller and Auditor General estimated that only Rs 76 crore had been realized from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013.