No Coercive Action Against Roshni Beneficiaries Till Court Decides

SRINAGAR: A Supreme Court Bench has refrained from examining petitions pertaining to the Roshni lands of Jammu and Kashmir till the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir decides the review petitions it has received already. Till then, the Jammu and Kashmir government told the bench, will also not take any coercive action.

High Court , Srinagar - KL Image by Bilal Bahadur
High Court , Srinagar – KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The order was passed by a bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose in a batch of appeals filed against the judgment of the High Court ordering a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged scam, bar and bench website reported.

The bench noted that Jammu and Kashmir administration and various Roshni beneficiaries have filed review petitions against the High Court judgment of November 9, which are pending before the High Court. This is precisely why, the bench said, there cannot be parallel proceedings.

“Subsequent to filing of this SLP, the review by Union Territory and other beneficiaries is listed on December 21 at the J&K High Court. Until and unless review petitions are decided we can’t do much. Let the review be decided by the High Court on December 21. The pendency of this case will not come in way of any of these petitioners approaching the J&K High Court in a review petition,” the bench ruled.

Supreme Court of India

The website quoted the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informing the court that “no coercive action will be taken against the appellants in the meanwhile”. Representing the Jammu and Kashmir administration, Mehta said the Union Territory in its review petition has drawn a distinction between encroachers and lawful leaseholders. The case was adjourned till the last week of January 2021.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has already ruled on December 4, that people who had lands on lease before the Roshni Act can occupy these lands on the basis of “expired lease”, The Indian Express reported from Jammu.

“The court order came on December 4 when UT Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra sought adjournment in a PIL filed by Prof S K Bhalla to make submissions pertaining to civil miscellaneous applications filed by some people who claimed they were originally allotted land on lease hold basis and, on its expiry, they were made to apply under Roshni Act for vesting of ownership rights,” the newspaper reported.

“We make it clear that because of the enactment being declared unconstitutional, the position as on date of coming into force of this Act or on the date of transfers under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act 2001 would stand restored,” observed a division bench of then Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal. “To elucidate, if on these dates, an individual was in occupation of state land and if the land in question had been originally given on leases which are expired, then the person would be occupying under the expired leases.”

The bench said that no benefit or claim of any kind “shall enure in favour” of any individual because of an order under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act 2001, or because continuation of occupation/possession on account of such order. “Once a person had made claim under the Roshni Act, no benefit or claim of adverse possession would flow in favour of the individual on account of possession under the Roshni Act,” the newspaper quoting the judicial records reported.

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