Srinagar, July 1: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has imposed Rs 10 Lakh as penalty on the government for forcible takeover of land of a private person five years ago for construction of a bridge in Bandipora district of north Kashmir.
Apart from imposing Rs 10 Lakh penalty, a division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani directed government to assess and determine the compensation of the land and Rs one lakh per year for five years as rent for 9.053 marlas of land which was taken over by R&B Department in 2017 for construction of the long Steel Girder Bridge at Moza Sultanpora Sumbal, Bandipora.
In his plea, the petitioner Shabir Ahmad Yatoo through his counsel Javid Ahmad Parray had submitted that no compensation has been ever paid to him.
The officials in their reply had accepted that the land had been taken over for the purposes of construction of the Steel Girder Bridge and that grant of compensation was under consideration as per the stamp duty rate.
“The aforesaid facts and circumstances clearly reveal that the private land of the petitioner has been taken over by the respondents forcibly without the consent of the petitioner and without taking recourse to any procedure prescribed in law,” the court said in an order, adding, “It is also an admitted fact that the petitioner has not been paid any compensation in respect of the land though the determination/assessment of the compensation is under way as per the stamp duty rate.”
The division bench said that it is well recognized that right to property is a basic human right and no one can be deprived of his property other than by following procedure prescribed in law.
The facts, court said, clearly reveal that the officials have violated the basic human right of the petitioner and deprived him of his property without following any procedure of law.
“In view of the above, the respondents are liable to be penalized for violating the basic human right of the petitioner and at the same time to pay compensation of the land at the stamp duty rate prevalent today as well as the rental compensation for its use and occupation from the year 2017 till date,” the court said and accordingly directed officials to assess and determine the compensation of the land payable to the private person within a period of 6 weeks and make payment within a further period of 3 months.
“The respondents (officials) at the same time shall also pay token rental compensation for the use and occupation of the aforesaid land from the year 2017 till 2021 i.e., 05 years @ Rs. 1.00 lac per year within 3 months from today,” the court said, adding, “In addition to the above, on account of violation of the right to property of the petitioner which is guaranteed by the Constitution, the respondents are directed to pay special penalty of Rs. 10.00 lacs to the petitioner within a period of three months.”