SC Asks J&K To Not Demolish Houses In Roshni Land; Refuses To Stay Govt Order For Removal Of Encroachments

SRINAGAR: On Friday, the Supreme Court of India refused to stay a circular issued by Jammu & Kashmir government directing deputy commissioners to remove encroachments on State Land including Roshni Land and Kachharie land by January 31, 2023, reported LiveLaw.in.

A bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar, though expressed its disclination in not passing an order today, it orally asked the Union Territory to not demolish any houses.

“We are not passing any order today. You instruct them orally not to demolish any houses. But we will not grant a general stay…. others should not get benefit,” the bench orally told the counsel of J&K, according to report published in Livelaw.in.

During the hearing, the advocate for the petitioner argued that many tribals are residing on the land and took the Court through the reliefs prayed for.

“If stay is granted then it will benefit land grabbers also?”, Justice Shah asked.

The counsel appearing for the Union Territory clarified that the circular is mainly focused on the Roshni land. He also questioned the locus of the applicants.

“The Application was served on me yesterday. It does not even mention that the applicants live there”, he pointed out while adding that the said land only had shops and such establishments.

The Court then adjourned the matter. The matter was mentioned before the Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, earlier this week.

The Jammu and Kashmir government, on January 9, directed the removal of all encroachments on State Land, including Roshni Land and Kachharie land, by January 31, 2023. The order was passed while several review petitions challenging Roshni Act Judgment remain pending before the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

In 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court held that the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act 2001, [popularly known as Roshni Act] is completely unconstitutional.

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