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Why confusion over transfer of ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’; Can anyone sell a water course?

A section in Jammu and Kashmir is trying hard to force the administration to allow the transfer and sale of natural water courses or ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’.

There seems to be a pressure from within the administration due to which a debate has started over the alienation of the said land. It is being exhorted that ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’ is not under the list of land prohibited for transfer under the new land laws implemented in the Union Territory of J&K since October 26, 2020.  

The confusion revolves around a communication of then Financial Commissioner (Revenue), issued by No. FC-LS/Misc-288/2020, dated 22-10-2020, forwarded to Deputy Commissioners and warning the Revenue field staff (patwaris) not to issue fards of land of water sources like Chhappri, talab, Springs, Chahs (wells) etc and the water courses like river, rivulets, streams, Chois, Kassi or Kas, Nallahs and Khads etc as the same is prohibited as section 20-B, 21 and 21 of now repealed J&K Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, Svt 2007.

After the land laws were amended vide S.O 3808(E) dated 26th October 2020, whereby the J&K Big Landed Estates Abolition Act Svt 1996 was repealed, the Financial Commissioner’s
order prohibiting alienation of land recorded as ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’ is not supposed to be in force.

However experts believe that the orders were not issued in vain but to stop people from encroaching on water courses and water resources that could stop the natural route of water thus creating a tricky situation for everyone. However sources said that some elements within the administration want that alienation of Gair Mumkin Khad be allowed.

A number of requests have been received by office of Deputy Commissioners for obtaining permission for alienation of land recorded as ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’.

The matter was highlighted after Divisional Commissioner Jammu Raghav Langar asked all Deputy Commissioner’s for their view on the matter of sale/purchase of ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’.

Replying to the Divisional Commissioner’s letter, dated 24-06-2021, Deputy Commissioner
Jammu and Deputy Commissioner Rajouri have mentioned that there was no prohibition on sale/purchase of ‘Gair Mumkin Khad’ but there is a confusion, which needs to be cleared.

However the letter on 22.-10-2020 mentions “The owners of the land recorded as ‘gair mumkin khad’ could not sell the land, as the nature of the land was ‘gair mumkin khad’ and big Landed Estates Abolition Act, SVT-2007 prohibits such terms transactions. Section 20-B of Big Landed Araks, Kaps and lands which are used for raising of fuel and fodder are unculturable and no documents relating to transfer of such land can be admitted to registration”.

Citing rules, the Revenue Department at that time also directed Deputy Commissioners to remove all encroachments on “water courses and water sources” immediately to enable smooth drainage and desilting.

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