Sunday, June 18, 2017

Why can’t encroachments be removed? High court orders inquiry

Gujarat high court expressed grave concerns at illegal occupation of large parcels of government land. The court for an inquiry into how eviction orders are executed by the government machinery. 

Justice J B Pardiwala called for proper implementation of orders to rid government lands of unauthorized occupation while deciding a case from Patan district. 

In this case, the authorities ordered a family to vacate a piece of land they had been tilling for many years. 

The government said they had actually encroached on a water body and all records indicate government ownership. 

The family claimed that they had been paying revenue for years. 

The high court ruled in favour of the state government and held that the government land must be vacated. However, Justice Pardiwala said, "I have noticed that huge parcels of lands are occupied by various unauthorized individuals. This is on account of indiscriminate state largess in allotment. I have also noticed that although steps have been taken and orders passed for eviction, the authorities have still not bothered to take physical possession of the land. Huge parcels of lands are being misused." 

With this observation, the court further said, "It is, therefore, necessary that an inquiry in this regard be initiated by the state government, to see that all orders passed till this date by revenue authorities are implemented and executed in their true spirit. 

If a person is declared to be in unauthorized occupation of the land, the authorities are expected to take actual possession of the land." 

The court said that even after eviction orders are passed, people in illegal possession of government land remain there for years together. "It does not make any sense," the court said and directed the HC registry to send a copy of its order to the principal secretary of the revenue department to take necessary action for execution of eviction orders and set up an inquiry in this regard.

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