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Jagpal Singh v. State of Punjab.

Type of court
National - higher court
Jan 28, 2011
Court name
Supreme Court of India
Markandey Katju.
Reference number
SLP(C) NO.3109/2011
Water, Land & soil
Land-use planning Land tenure Public land Common property Basin/catchment/watershed Wetlands Community management
This appeal has been filed against the impugned judgment of a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated 21.5.2010. By that judgment the Division Bench upheld the judgment of the learned Single Judge of the High Court dated 10.2.2010 dismissing the petition against the Commissioner’s order holding that the village pond had to be used for common purposes of the villagers and nobody could be allowed to encroach upon it. It is undisputed that the appellants are neither the owner nor the tenants of the land in question which is recorded as a pond situated in village Rohar Jagir, Tehsil and District Patiala. They are in fact trespassers and unauthorized occupants of the land relating Khewat Khatuni No. 115/310, Khasra No. 369 (84-4) in the said village. They appear to have filled in the village pond and made constructions thereon. The Supreme Court found no merit in this appeal. The appellants herein were trespassers who illegally encroached on to the Gram Panchayat land in collusion with the officials and even with the Gram Panchayat. Even if the appellants have built houses on the land in question they must be ordered to remove their constructions, and possession and the land in question must be handed back to the Gram Panchayat. Regularizing such illegalities must not be permitted because it is Gram Sabha land which must be kept for the common use of villagers of the village. The letter dated 26.9.2007 of the Government of Punjab permitting regularization of possession of these unauthorized occupants is not valid. Such letters are wholly illegal and without jurisdiction and such illegalities cannot be regularized. The common interest of the villagers cannot suffer merely because the unauthorized occupation has subsisted for many years. In many states Government orders have been issued by the State Government permitting allotment of Gram Sabha land to private persons and commercial enterprises on payment of some money. In our opinion all such Government orders are illegal, and should be ignored. The Court gave directions to all the State Governments in the country that they should prepare schemes for eviction of illegal/unauthorized occupants of Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat/Poramboke/Shamlat land and these must be restored to the Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat for the common use of villagers of the village. For this purpose the Chief Secretaries of all State Governments/Union Territories in India are directed to do the needful, taking the help of other senior officers of the Governments. The said scheme should provide for the speedy eviction of such illegal occupant, after giving him a show cause notice and a brief hearing. Long duration of such illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions thereon or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularizing the illegal possession. Regularization should only be permitted in exceptional cases e.g. where lease has been granted under some Government notification to landless labourers or members of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, or where there is already a school, dispensary or other public utility on the land.
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