Stay on sale, construction of Khad lands ends
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: In the much publicised “Gair Mumkin Khad” lands case, the Division Bench of J&K High Court at Jammu, comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Tashi Rabstan on Thursday dropped the contempt proceedings against Chief Secretary, Commissioner/ Secretary PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Commissioner/Secretary Revenue Deptt Division Commissioner and others after hearing the submissions made by Advocate Aseem Sawhney for the petitioner.
Sawhney submitted that the State Cabinet has approved the water policy and plan and SRO 456 dated October 25, 2017 has been placed before the Court with the compliance report of the judgment dated February 12, 2016 of the High Court’s Division Bench.
On these submissions and joint request of Aseem Sawhney and Ehsan Mirza Dy AG for Official respondents, the Division Bench observed that in view of the fact that the Water Policy has been framed the Court was not inclined to proceed further with the contempt proceedings and the same were dropped.
It may be mentioned that the Division Bench (then comprising Chief Justice (R) N Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan), while deciding the PIL regarding the implementation of the Water Resources Act of J&K had refused to issue any mandamus (directions) to the State Government regarding taking over of the Gair Mumkin Khad lands and lands abetting water bodies but vide its judgment dated February 12, 2016 had directed the state Government to frame the Water Policy and plan as per the Act. The Court vide this Judgment had directed that till the water policy is framed the status quo regarding the Gair Mumkin Khad lands and lands abetting water bodies shall be maintained as per the previous interim order. The Court had granted a period of two months to frame the water policy, but the Government failed to frame the water policy within the stipulated time as directed by the Court and delayed the matter. This led to complete halt in the sale, construction, etc in the lands recorded as Gair Mumkin Khads, and therefore the petitioner Rattan Parkash through Advocates A K Sawhney and Aseem Sawhney with Shiv Dev Singh Thakur, Ila Sharma and Anil Kumar had filed a contempt petition.
After several directions and orders of personal appearance in the Court of the conceded officers, finally the Court directed the Chief Secretary to appear in person in the Court to explain disobedience of the Court orders, therefore the matter was finally considered by the Cabinet in its last meeting and the water policy which was already drafted but not being approved was approved and SRO No.456 issued, leading to clearing of decks for the fair Mumkin Khad lands sale, constructions and other activities.
The water policy’s cause clearly deserves that there is a lot of confusion with the term Khad as there are lands which are dry and there is no water there and therefore the lands are required to be demarcated and for this the policy has been framed that the said exercise will be conducted, but the status quo order which had its life only till framing of the water policy is now over and there is no impediment for the authorities unless there is any explicit rule, law or notification, clarified Aseem Sawhney Advocate.