“No coercive action against beneficiaries under Roshni Act for now”: Centre tells SC

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On Thursday, the Centre told the Supreme Court that no coercive action will be taken for now against the beneficiaries under the Roshni Act, reported LiveLaw.

The Solicitor General made the submission before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana during the hearing of petitions filed against the High Court verdict by persons who claimed to be lawful leaseholders. The bench that also comprised Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, adjourned the hearing of the petitions to the last week of January. 

Meanwhile, the top court urged the High Court to consider the review petitions against the October 9 judgment on December 21. The SC observed that the pendency of the instant SLPs will not come in the way of any petitioners approaching the High Court in review.

Solicitor General Mehta told the Court that the State government could not come in the way of common people or those who are lawful occupants. “There is no question of that. But land grabbers cannot be spared,” he said, reported the news portal. Justice NV Ramana then asked whether an order directing no coercive action be taken during the pendency of the proceedings can be recorded. 

The Solicitor General assured the Court at this juncture that no such order was necessary. “We have nothing against anybody and illegalities have to be punished. A lot of confusion in this matter though,” said Justice Ramana. 

“I am before your lordships, No order is necessary My Lords,” Live Law quoted Solicitor General saying. 

“You will not take any action?” said Justice Ramana. Solicitor General replied: “I am here before My Lords, no order be recorded.”

Roshni Act, which has been declared as unconstitutional by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in October, is the popular name for the ‘Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001’, which regularized the encroachments and unauthorized occupations on public land till 1990 on the occupants paying the market rates prevailing as on that year.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for one of the petitions then told the court that the Solicitor General’s submission was good enough. “The SG says that no coercive action be taken,” Justice Ramana. “That’s good enough for us,” replied Rohatgi.

Petitioners represented by Rohatgi submitted that the High Court struck down the Act in a PIL without hearing the actual land allottees.

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