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No coercive action against those who challenged Roshni Act verdict: J-K tells SC

ANI
·2-min read
Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

New Delhi [India], January 25 (ANI): The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday assured the Supreme Court that no coercive action would be taken against those persons who have approached the top court against the High Court judgment of scrapping the Roshni Act of 2001.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration, told a bench headed by Justice NV Ramana that the review petition against the Jammu and Kashmir High Court's October 9, 2020 verdict is pending in the High Court and would be heard on Thursday.

Earlier in December the Bench also took note of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's statement that no coercive action will be taken for now against the beneficiaries.

The apex court had also asked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to decide the review petitions of the verdict.

The top court was hearing appeals filed by a number of Roshni Act beneficiaries who said they are authorized occupants and leaseholders of Nazool land in Jammu and Kashmir.

Beneficiaries have approached the top court against the High Court order to scrap Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, which is also known as the Roshni Act.

They told the apex court that they are "authorized occupants and leaseholders of Nazool land" and they were not even heard by the J&K High Court as it passed the directions.

The High Court on October 9 has held that the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act 2001, (Roshni Act) is completely "unconstitutional" and all acts done under it or amendments thereunder are also unconstitutional and void ab initio.

A division bench Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal had directed CBI to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the matter.

The High Court said that the acts and omissions of officials and the encroachers/ occupants amounted to serious criminal offences, necessitating inquiry, investigation, and criminal prosecutions.

Roshni Act was passed by Jammu and Kashmir legislature in 2001 to confer ownership rights on occupants of State land to raise Rs 25,000 crore for hydel projects, but only Rs 76 crore was collected. In 2018, the then Lieutenant Governor repealed the Act. Later, the High Court while acting on PIL also scrapped the Act and directed the authorities to retrieve the land from the occupants.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has named many politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats, and officials as "illegal land encroachers" in the Union Territory. (ANI)