HC issues notice to AG in eviction drive, seeks response within four weeks

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court Srinagar Wing on Friday issued notice to the Advocate General in the matter regarding impugned circular bearing No 02-JK(Rev) of 2023 dated January 9, 2023, by virtue of which a direction has been issued to all concerned Deputy Commissioners to ensure that all encroachments on State land including Roshni land and on Kachharie land are removed to the extent of 100 per cent by January 31, 2023,
While hearing four different petitions the High Court observed that before proceedings further in the matter, it would be apt to issue notice to the Advocate General to assist the Court in this matter.
The petitions was filed by Bashir Ahmad Wani, Abdul Khaliq Tantray, Abdul Khaliq Tantray and Mohammad Ashraf Shah challenging impugned circular.
Through the medium of circular and with a view to effective monitoring of the anti-encroachment drive, it was directed that Deputy Commissioners shall draw up a daily anti-encroachment drive plan and also nominate Additional Deputy Commissioners as District Nodal Officers for coordination and effective implementation of drive. Deputy Commissioners shall constitute teams of Divisional Commissioners shall also monitor drive. The daily progress report shall be furnished through respective Divisional Commissioners for which concerned Assistant Commissioner (Central) shall be the Nodal Officers. DCs shall submit the daily reports by 4 PM and Divisional Commissioners shall furnish the compiled reports through Financial Commissioner Revenue J&K by 5 PM daily to Administrative Department.
During the course of hearing, Advocate Bilal Ahmad Malla submitted that impugned circular is bereft of any legal sanction or authority as action is sought to be initiated pursuant to the issuance of aforesaid circular which would jeopardize the fundamental rights of the petitioner as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India without following procedure as established by law and, accordingly, the petitioner sought quashment of circular. The counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner further submitted that circular has been issued in the most mechanical manner and without following procedure as prescribed under land Revenue Act with particular reference to Section 133 of the Act. The further stand of the petitioner is that the impugned circular, even otherwise, is also bad in the eyes of law as in wake of the annulment of the Roshni Act vide Judgment passed by Division Bench of this Court dated 09.10.2020 and pursuant thereto a meeting was held under the aegis of respondent.
The further stand of the counsel for the petitioners is that the impugned order also suffers from the vice of being issued without following the minimum required principles of natural justice as the petitioner has not been given a right of hearing before coercive measures have been taken through the impugned circular. He further submitted that the petitioners has not been issued any show cause notice, and, therefore, the action contemplated under the impugned circular would be against the mandate of the law laid down by the Apex Court.
After hearing counsel for the petitioners, Justice Nargal observed that before proceedings further in the matter it would be apt to issue notice to the Advocate General to assist the Court in the aforesaid matter, issue notice in the main as well as in the connected CM to Advocate General to file response within a period of four weeks.