HC allows State to frame policy to regularize small encroachments


Just before the Assembly Election, the State Government got High Court nod to go ahead with framing of policy to regularize small encroachments to favour small and marginal farmers. The Himachal Pradesh High Court today said that the State could frame policy provided it did not compromise with its legality and validity.


Division bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan while hearing the public interest litigation said that it has not issued any direction to restrain the State to make or frame any legislation or policy. The Court also ordered that it is prerogative of the State to make the laws and the policy. Disposing of the State plea to go ahead with the framing of policy the Court said that State may proceed with the policy.


“If the policy is made, its validity and legality could be tested at any time, if questioned.” The bench said fixing next date of PIL on April 25. It is worthwhile to mentioned that the State Government  had 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 bighas in the State.


The panel met on Feb 7 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 the 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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