HC directs Div Com to examine 'canal encroachment by police'

J&K High Court has directed Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to examine an issue relating to “encroachment” of an irrigation canal in Kulgam district whereupon building of police station Qaimoh has been constructed. 

While a report by Deputy Commissioner Kulgam attests to the encroachment of 4.12 Kanals of the canal by the police station Qaimoh, the police department has denied the encroachment of the water channel.     

While hearing a petition by land holders of Mutalhama village, a division bench of Chief Justice, Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta said: “In view of the dispute raised before this Court and the respective contentions of the parties and the report of Deputy Commissioner, Kulgam, let this issue be placed before the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir”.

The Court asked the Divisional Commissioner to examine the matter and submit a report before it by December 1.

As the plea came up for hearing, the Court’s   attention was drawn to the order dated 24 October 2017 wherein it had taken cognizance of a report  by Deputy Commissioner Kulgam that the water body at Qaimoh had been encroached upon by the police.

The Deputy Commissioner had addressed the letter dated 20 October 2017 to the SSP, Kulgam, “directing him to vacate the land which falls under survey no 1637 out of estate Qaimoh.” The Court had directed senior AAG BA Dar to submit the compliance report.

In its order dated 22 December 2017, in order to ascertain whether police had encroached upon the water channel, the Court directed the Deputy Commissioner Kulgam to ensure that the process of demarcation by the team constituted for the purpose was completed and compliance filed.

The Deputy Commissioner on 5 February 2018 by an affidavit informed the Court that demarcation of the land was conducted and the report forwarded by the Tehsildar Qaimoh had revealed that Survey No 1637 of estate Qaimoh measured 67 Kanals and 08 marlas of land recorded as a “Gair Mumkin Kohl” (water channel), out of which the land measuring 4.12 kanals was illegally taken by the police department Kulgam.

“The SSP Kulgam was informed about the same through the letter dated 4 January, 2018, said the affidavit.

The senior AAG submitted before the Court that he has filed a status report indicating that police station, Kulgam has been built on state land and there was no encroachment by the police authorities. 

“It cannot be denied that the police station is absolutely imperative and essential to ensure that there is no law and order problem. However, it cannot be denied that all actions have to abide by the law,” the Court said and referred the issue to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for examination and report. 

The Court asked its Registry to send a copy of the order to the Divisional Commissioner for compliance and listed the plea for further hearing on December 1.