HC deffer hearing into forest encroachment case to Mar 27


Himachal Pradesh High Court today deferred the public hearing into forest encroachment case to Mar  27 to hear the objection filed under Civil Miscellaneous petition against the state draft to regularized small and marginal encroachment in the State. The Division bench of Chief Justice Mansor Ahmad Mir and Mr. Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan decided to defer the hearing in the matter of forest encroachment to Mar 27 as a CMP was filed by Advocate J L Bhardwaj challenging the State move to from policy to offer proprietary rights  to  regularized the encroachment up to five Bigha not exceeding ten Bigha in the State.


The Court would hear the objections against state draft to frame policy offering proprietary rights to the small encroachments as the Government had filed the policy draft in the court in last date of hearing. Himachal Pradesh Government recently framed a policy to give respite to small and marginal farmers who had encroached upon five bigha of Government land, would present this policy before the HP high court hearing this matter.


Earlier the Court also listed hearing on Mar 7 and sought the status report upon the Government eviction of illegal encroachment and the  court directed the amicus curaie to submit the reply in the matter. The Bench had considered the request of state to hear matter directing it to come up with the framed policy in the court on Feb 28. The State Government has constituted a panel to look into the modalities how it could give  respite to small farmers who had  encroached the revenue lands of less than ten bigha in the State.


The panel met on Feb 7 this month announced that a scheme for conferment of proprietary rights of such peasants in the state to be provided one time relief. On the recommendation of panel state cabinet also given nod to the policy during its meeting held last week. Revenue and Law Minister Mr. Kaul Singh Thakur who headed the panel said that draft of scheme protect livelihood rights of farmers which are  of genuine cases but state is committed strict action against big land sharks.


The draft reports proposed conferment of proprietary rights to a maximum of five bighas of land in rural areas had been prepared in such a manner that own land of the person and the land conferred did not exceed a total of 10 bighas, provided that the remaining land in possession was vacated. Beneficiaries likely to be charged some nominal rates of such possession of lands before conferring of rights to them. The rights to such possessor who are already evicted within two years of the cut-off date may be benefited however such cases should recorded before August, 2015. State may consider the swapping of private land in lieu of encroached Government land by the farmers.

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ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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