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Right to Property: HC imposes Rs 10 lakh fine on R&B department for occupying private land

Post by on Saturday, July 2, 2022

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Srinagar, July 01: The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh has imposed a cost of Rs. 10 lakh on the government authorities for occupying a private land without following due procedure of law.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javid Iqbal Wani also directed the government to pay token rental compensation for the use and occupation of the aforesaid land from the year 2017 till 2021 i.e., 05 years @ Rs. 1.00 lac per year within 3 months from today.
"In addition to the above, on account of violation of the right to property of the petitioner which is guaranteed by the Constitution, the respondents are directed to pay a special penalty of Rs. 10.00 lacs to the petitioner within a period of three months," the bench said.
The court observed that it is well recognized that Right to Property is a basic human right which is akin to a fundamental right as guaranteed by Article 300 A of the Constitution of India and that no one can be deprived of his property other than by following procedure prescribed in law. 
The court passed the directions in a plea of Bandipora resident, Shabir Ahmad Yatoo, stating that he is the owner of 9.053 Marlas of land situated at Moza Sultanpora Sumbal, Bandipora, District Baramulla which is under illegal occupation of respondents.
The petitioner alleges that in 2017, the R&B Department took possession of his land for construction of the long Steel Girder Bridge at Zalpora Sultanpora Sumbal, Bandipora without acquiring the said land in accordance with any statutory provision or with the consent of the petitioner.
The petitioner also submitted that he has not been paid any compensation of the said land ever since then.
Admitting the contentions of the petitioner, the government respondents submitted that for the purposes of construction of the Steel Girder Bridge, the possession of the land of the petitioner was taken over. 
The respondents also submitted that the representation of the petitioner for grant of compensation is under consideration and the respondents propose to pay compensation as per the stamp duty rate. 
The court after hearing the parties noted that circumstances reveal that the private land of the petitioner has been taken over by the respondents forcibly without the consent of the petitioner and without taking recourse to any procedure prescribed in law.
It observed that the respondents have violated the basic human right of the petitioner and have deprived him of his property without following any procedure of Law. 
The bench recorded that the respondents are liable to be penalized for violating the basic human right of the petitioner and at the same time to pay compensation of the said land at the stamp duty rate prevalent today as well as the rental compensation for its use and occupation from the year 2017 till date. 
The court directed the government authorities to assess and determine the compensation of the aforesaid land payable to the petitioner at the stamp duty rate as prevalent today in the area within a period of 6 weeks and to make payment thereof within a further period of three months. 
"In the event, the aforesaid amounts are not paid within the stipulated time, it will be open for the petitioner to move an application and to bring it to the notice of the court whereupon the Court will swing into action and take appropriate coercive measures against the respondents for the realization of the aforesaid amount may be as arrears of land revenue," the bench said.

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