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Land dispute case: HC imposes fine on CLA Shopian for seeking further adjournment

Post by on Friday, July 1, 2022

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Srinagar, June 30: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh imposed a fine of Rs 25000 on Collector Land Acquisition, Shopian for seeking further adjournment in a case pertaining to a land dispute.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani also directed the official to remain present along with the record in the court by next date of hearing.
"Accordingly, we direct this petition to be listed on July, 20, 2022 on which date the Collector Land Acquisition, District Shopian, shall remain present in court along with record," the court said.
The court passed the direction after the Additional Advocate General, M.A Chashoo representing the Collector Land Acquisition, Shopian, sought further adjournment in the matter.
The bench said, "Since it is a matter of 2013, we are not inclined to adjourn it but the circumstances have compelled us to do so."
The aforesaid adjournment, the court said, is subject to payment of further cost of Rs. 25,000 which shall be paid and deposited by the next date.
Allowing a week's time to file objections to the petition, the bench directed AAG Chashoo to ensure presence of the Collector Land Acquisition, District Shopian, and to deposit the cost of Rs.10,000 imposed earlier.
On June, 02, the court had imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on Collector Land Acquisition, District Shopian, for failing to file objections to the writ petition.
The court had also directed the official to remain present before it, "but he has not cared to appear nor has he deposited the costs probably for the reason that the order dated June, 02, 2022 was never communicated to him."
The court noted that all the official respondents have not yet filed counter affidavit despite several opportunities in the past.
Earlier, a plea was filed by Land Holders of Village Safnagri challenging government order issued on September, 25, 1996, wherin the land of petitioner and theor co-sharers was allegedly transferred from Agriculture Department to Horticulture Department for establishment of Walnut Development Centre.
However, the villagers contended that the order does not pertain to the disputed land. 
"No Walnut Development Centre has been set up over the disputed land. The claim preferred by respondents is baseless," the villagers contended.
The plea stated that the land mentioned in the government order is located adjacent to the disputed land and “on the basis of State power petitioners are being deprived from cultivating the land except that land which is used by the petitioners for grazing their cattle and is thus in their enjoyment.”
It stated that the petitioners have been enjoying the land and its possession comfortably till recently when the Horticulture Department again arrived with police and forcibly enclosed the part of the land measuring about 20 kanals.
"The land owners put stiff resistance and succeeded in preventing the rest the land from being forcibly occupied by the respondents," it says. 
“It was submitted that the disputed land except 20 kanal which are forcibly occupied by respondents continue to be in possession of the petitioners and other co-sharers of the land. The land is being used mostly for grazing of cattle and sheep.”
The petitioners have sought a direction to the respondents to vacate the wrongful possession of the land measuring 20 kanals out of the disputed land with further direction to respondents not to interfere with ownership and possession of the remaining land in village Reshipora , Tehsil Shopian.
They also seek a direction upon the respondents to pay damages or occupational charges of the land to the petitioners at the rate of Rs. 10000 per kanal per annum or at the rate to be assessed by an impartial authority particularly a judicial officer of the rank of District Judge towards the fulfillment of the obligation created by law.
The villagers have also prayed that respondents be directed not to prefer any claim over the subject matter of writ petition on the basis of government order issued on September, 25, 1996 as the same relates to different chunk of land in different village situated away from the land of the petitioners.

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