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Authorities asked to retrieve land regularized under Roshni Act scam

Last Updated on October 12, 2020 at 7:27 pm

The Divisional Bench of Jammu-Kashmir High Court has declared all the acts done under the J&K land scam known as Roshni Act as unconstitutional, and illegal. Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal along with a Divisional Bench of J&K High Court have ordered the J&K Government to acquire all the UT land which is still under the encroachment and which is granted under the act.

The High Court of J&K has also emphasized that the proper action should be taken against the culprits who were involved with the act as they had caused damage to the public interest. 

The High Court of J&K has handed over the case to CBI after the Jammu Anti-Corruption Bureau’s failure to bring out the details of the case. In the 64 pages judgment, the DB has detected that the Roshni act promoted illegal land scams and the leaders who were associated with the act had deep relations with the leaders at the center level and used their powers illegally to change the demography of Jammu to increase their vote share in the assembly elections. The party leaders and government officials of J&K used their powers and relations with higher government officials for their benefits and took part actively in land scams. 

According to the 2007 report, the J&K government didn’t ask the central government to approve any of these rules and these were published in the government gazette in an unauthorized manner. The rules were amended by the then ruling party in association with the other local parties who were in power at that time. This act was brought into power despite the mandate of the Constitution and the laws and by the Supreme Court. 

Many politicians, government officials, and police officers will be under the scanner of the CBI for the land scam in Jammu. All the leaders that handed over the land to encroachers illegally would be behind the bars. According to a DB official,” the UT land that had been under the illegal occupation of the persons in the Kashmir valley is around 1,14,135 Kanals which is much larger than the land allotted under the Roshni act”. The government of J&K had completely ignored the public rules and the way rules are implemented shows how strong relations the then J&K government had with the central government. 

Looking at the several judgments that have been passed against the act, the CJ Gita Mittal said that the land under encroachment will be recovered. The land will be used for the public according to the principles mentioned in the government gazette. Much of the land and forest allotted in the act have been encroached by the occupants.

The act was a way to change the demography of Jammu. The hydropower projects that were mentioned during the amendment of the Roshni Act were only a means to amend the Roshni Act in J&K and the act didn’t serve its purpose but still, it was enacted without any analysis about the cost-benefit. 

The DB further remarked that the leaders who were associated with the act considered themselves not bound to any law. The Roshni act was in complete violation of the principles laid down by the Supreme Court. Till now no UT land has been retrieved from the encroacher but efforts are being made and soon the land will be retrieved.

According to the reports the occupants are continuing to encroach the land with the help of authorities who were assigned to protect and secure the public property. The DB concluded that the Roshni Act which was amended in J&K from time to time was unconstitutional and against the principles of the Constitution of India. The CBI officials have started to proceed with their investigation about the encroachment of land, permission for construction, etc. The culprits will be in front of us very soon, the DB assured the people of Jammu. 

The DB also stated that the appropriate actions would be taken against those found guilty. According to the report, the ACB of Jammu had undertaken measures to protect the persons in authority who were associated with the land scam at that time. The Roshni act was abolished in 2018 during the tenure of Former Governor Satya Pal Malik after authorities found that the act was not benefiting the state and the act has been found as a scam. The High Court handed over the case to CBI and has directed the officials to submit the report once in 8 weeks.