On the basis of legal opinion, the Revenue Department has said that all transfer deeds of land recorded as “gair mumkin khad” (water courses) are “illegal and void”.
It has asked all Deputy Commissioners to prepare a report on encroachments of such land – water courses and water sources— in their respective districts within two weeks so that encroachments can be removed.
In its letter dated 22.10.2020, addressed to the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu/Kashmir, the Additional Commissioner (Central) with Financial Commissioner (Revenue), J&K, Jammu, has mentioned that they had received a number of communications/requests from Deputy Commissioners for obtaining permission for alienation of land recorded as ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’.
Quoting the legal opinion obtained, the letter reads: “The owners of the land recorded as ‘gair mumkin khad’ could not sell the land, as the nature of the land was ‘gair mumkin khad’ and big Landed Estates Abolition Act, SVT-2007 prohibits such terms transactions.
“Section 20-B of Big Landed Araks, Kaps and lands which are used for raising of fuel and fodder are unculturable and no documents relating to transfer of such land can be admitted to registration.
“Section-21 of the Act also provides that transfer of any holding or part thereof in contravention of provision shall be void. Section 24 of the act further provides that if a proprietor transfers his land in contravention of the provisions of the act, his right of the ownership in the land held by him shall be extinguished and shall escheat to the Government.
“All the transfer deeds like sale deeds are illegal and void. Mutation attested on such documents are against the provision of para 46 (b) of the standing order 23-A, and orders on such mutations are bad and require to be set aside.”
Meanwhile, the letter states that nowhere in the SRO-456 of October 25, 2017 (it is) mentioned that alienation or conversion of land recorded as water course or water sources are permissible. All the permission in the name of the policy of PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Department vide SRO 456, issued by any authority is in violation of land are invalid ab initio . . . .”
Citing rules, the Revenue Department has directed Deputy Commissioners to remove all encroachments on “water courses and water sources” immediately to enable smooth drainage and desiliting.
Meanwhile, strict instructions have been issued to the chowkidars in rural areas and Municipal Khalifwarzi staff in urban areas that strong action can be taken against them if they fail in preventing encroachments and informing the concerned authorities for removal of such encroachments.
The Financial Commissioner (Revenue) order reads: “Patwaries and revenue staff should be warned not to issue Fards of land of water sources like Chhapri, Talab, Springs, Chahs (wells) etc and the water courses like rivers, rivulets, steams, chois, khassi or kas nallah, and khadds etc to anyone under any circumstances as it is strictly prohibited under law.”
“Such transactions which have happened in the past are legally invalid ab initio. Action under law must be taken against such Patwari/revenue functionaries who have issued such fards in past, after due enquiry and examination of relevant records. If anyone found of having done so in the last two years his/her details should be furnished to Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) through the respective Divisional Commissioners,” the officials said quoting the directives issued by the office of FC Revenue.
“All Sub-Registrars and Registrars have also been asked to remain vigilant and careful that no transaction of such lands is ever admitted for registration within their jurisdiction,” it adds.
Meanwhile, all Deputy Commissioners have been requested to review the progress of ongoing ‘water bodies’ census within their districts under Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS). For this purpose, the order states that: “Good quality mobile phones have been issued to the Tehsildars for conducting census/surveys of water bodies across the UT for GPS coordinates.”