The Bold Voice of J&K

HC directs digitisation of land records to be ‘Geo-Referenced’, appoints Dr Nivedita Haran as Expert Local Commissioner

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JAMMU: The Division Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and First Puisne Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal in a significant order, while allowing two Civil Miscellaneous Applications (CMA No. 4518 & 4519/2020 in PIL No. 19/2011) has directed Govt of J&K to ensure that digitisation of land records must be ‘Geo-Referenced’ and has paved way for digitisation of entire revenue records in UT of J&K.
The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal, after hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed for petitioner, Sr AAG S S Nanda for Revenue Department, AAG Raman Sharma for ACB and Shaleen Kabra, Home Secretary/ Principal Secretary Revenue, appointed Dr Nivedita Haran, former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation, Government of India and Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management, Govt of Kerala as Expert Local Commissioner to conduct periodic checks on digitisation of land records which are underway in UT of J&K and to report as to whether it is being effected correctly as per Court orders. The Division Bench has further directed that efforts should be made to enable historical tracking of rights in land.
The Division Bench further observed and directed that if necessary, the Local Commissioner may physically travel to offices in order to conduct random checks and bi-monthly reports will be submitted by local commissioner to this court.
It may be recalled that on last hearing, the Division Bench had directed personal appearance of Commissioner/Secretary (Revenue), Govt of J&K to explain before court as to what is the progress of the digitization of land records and also to answer queries of the court. In compliance to directions of the Division Bench, the new incumbent Shaleen Kabra, Commissioner/Secretary, Revenue, Govt of UT of J&K appeared before the Division Bench through video conferencing and submitted that digitisation of records in Jammu and Srinagar has been completed and in other districts, urgent steps are being taken. The DB was informed that the digitisation of records is being ‘Geo-Referenced’ to the land records.
In the application it has been submitted that Govt of J&K is required to maintain Record of Rights i.e. Jambandi in accordance with Section 21 of J&K Land Revenue Act, Svt. 1996 which is prepared at the time of settlement or revision of an Estate. It is submitted that the settlement of revenue record for the first time was initiated in 1887 A.D. by the then Ruler of J&K. In 1890, Sir Walter Lawrence carried out settlement.

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