In the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting alleged encroachment of 20 lakh kanals of State Land by the powerful land mafia in league with politicians, Revenue Officials and Police Officers, a Division Bench (DB) of the State High Court comprising First Puisne Judge Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice B.S. Walia has directed the personal appearance of Divisional Commissioners of Jammu and Srinagar on February, 21, 2017.
Both the Divisional Commissioners have also been directed to submit an affidavit as to whether they have the copies of the report containing the 13 volumes indicating the list of encroachments so as to enable the Court to pass further orders on the next date of hearing.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Irfaan Mohd. Khan, Supriya Chouhan and Rahul Raina appearing for the petitioner, whereas Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganai with Senior AAG Seema Khajooria Shekhar, Deputy AG Ehsan Mirza appearing for the State Government, the Division Bench headed by First Puisne Judge Ramalingam Sudhakar observed that the core issue addressed by Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed is that the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and the Divisional Commissioner, Srinagar have submitted the records before this Court in thirteen volumes and it is stated to be in the custody of Registrar Judicial of this Court.
These are all relating to probable lands of the State which have been encroached. The Division Bench further said that however, a final decision in the matter should be taken by the Divisional Commissioners as to how to proceed in the matter in consultation with the Revenue Secretary.
When this PIL of wide public importance came up for hearing Advocate S.S. Ahmed drew the attention of the Division Bench towards order dated September, 4, 2013 passed by a Division Bench then headed by Chief Justice M.M. Kumar (since retired) whereby both Divisional Commissioners, Jammu/Kashmir had been directed to disclose before this Court the names and particulars of all those who have grabbed almost 20 lakh kanals of State Land which was initially highlighted in the Legislative Assembly by Yash Pal Kundal (MLA-JKNPP) through a starred question (AQ No.618).
The DB had also directed that it will take a view for further course of action when the encroachers are identified.