‘Ensure no illegal constructions come up on agriculture land’ HC directs DC Anantnag

‘Ensure no illegal constructions come up on agriculture land’ HC directs DC Anantnag
File photo of J&K High CourtMubashir Khan/ GK File

Srinagar: The High Court has directed Deputy Commissioner Anantnag to ensure no “illegal constructions” are allowed to come up on agriculture land within his jurisdiction even as the Court was informed that “fake oral gift deeds” regarding more than 43 kanals of land in Pahalgam were cancelled.

A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul issued the directions while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking preservation of Pahalgam health resort and its environs.

An application along the PIL seeks appropriate directions for restraining all illegal constructions in certain remote areas and villages alongside the Bijbehara-Pahalgam road.

While the application underscored that on the complaints being lodged to the Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, directions were issued to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Pahalgam, and the Tehsildar of the area to ensure stopping illegal constructions on the agriculture land, the court was informed that none of the areas falls within the domain of the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA).

The court was informed that it was for this reason that PDA or its Chief Executive Officer were not in a position to take any action in the matter.

“Since the area is within the jurisdiction of the Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, who has previously taken action in the matter, we direct him to take appropriate action ensuring that no illegal constructions are allowed or take place within his jurisdiction,” the bench said.

The Court asked the Deputy Commissioner to submit a report clearly stating the steps taken by him for stopping all illegal constructions and for the removal of unauthorized constructions already raised.

Meanwhile, in compliance with earlier directions, the authorities informed the court that the gift deeds on over 43 kanals of land in Pahalgam had been cancelled.

The Court had asked the (PDA to bring on record the orders cancelling the manipulated gift deeds.

The compliance report said that a Committee headed by the Assistant Commissioner (Revenue), Anantnag was constituted to scrutinize the sanctity of the mutation order (No.1503) of estate Laripora, Pahalgam.

“The report of the committee reveals that land measuring 43 kanals 18 marlas was transferred by oral gift and on that basis the above mutation entry was carried out in gross violation of sub-section 2(c) of Section 5 of the Jammu & Kashmir Alienation of Land Act, 1995, now repealed,” the bench said.

The report also revealed that 34 kanals of land was also shown to have been transferred to the donees by virtue of the mutation. “The land on spot is under physical possession of some third party other than the donees”. The report further revealed that the mutation entry (No. 1503) of estate Laripora, Tehsil Pahalgam was quashed vide order (no.07 of 2021) on 28 June 2021.

“In view of the report, it is evident that the authorities have acted upon the directions of the Court and have cancelled the mutation entries reported to have been manipulated on the basis of the fake oral gifts which allegedly come into existence due to the connivance of Mir Naseem the then Chief Town Planner, Kashmir,” the court said.

With regard to the plea seeking to stop the construction work of a stadium on the banks of the Lidder Nallah as the same was being set up in contravention of the directions of the court order dated 28th December, 2014 which puts a blanket ban on all constructions within the radius of 200 meters on either side of the river, Additional Advocate General M A Chashoo submitted that the project of construction of stadium was shelved.

The Court observed that a status report filed by Masarat Hashim CEO PDA indicated that on the representation of the locals by earth filling some of the land was being leveled for use as a play field, though no constructions were being raised. “Since no constructions are being raised on the side of the river, the application is rendered meaningless and requires no further direction,” the court said.

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