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HC levies cost of Rs 1 Lakh upon alleged encroacher of migrant land

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Srinagar: In a case related to alleged encroachment of migrant property, the High Court today levied a cost of rupees one lakh upon the alleged offender besides preventing the statutory authorities from discharging their lawful functions on baseless grounds.

Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur while dismissing an appeal by one Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah &ors (alleged encroacher) observed Shah had “successfully prevented the said statutory from discharging its lawful functions on baseless grounds. No one can be permitted to exploit or abuse the process of law in the manner in which the petitioners have done in the present case”.

He accordingly put a cost of Rs one lakh on Shah to be deposited in the registry of High Court within one month.

Rs 10,000 each shall be credited into the accounts of the private respondents Gautam Bali and Sumeet Bali. Balance Rs 80,000 shall be deposited in the Advocate’s Welfare Fund, the judge directed further.

The genesis of the controversy in the case lies in an application filed by the Balis, who claim ownership over land measuring seven kanals and three marlas in survey No. 309 of estate Mamai in Tehsil Pahalgam.

They filed an application for protection of their property in their status as migrants.

Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah however claimed that he purchased certain parcels of land falling inter alia under survey No. 310 in estate Mamai, Pahalgam, which is accompanied with rights of Shamlat, which falls under Survey No. 309.

Shah in his claim stressed that the official machinery should not interfere with his possession of the said piece of land.

In the objections a stand is taken that no part of Shamlat land is at all contained in Survey No. 309.

According to the report submitted by the Tehsildar Pahalgam to the District Magistrate Anantnag, Shahs are actual owner only in regard to land falling under survey numbers 28, 29, 30, 31 and 310 upon which certain constructions have been raised.

“However, over the land measuring 7 kanals 3 marlas falling under Survey No. 309 owned by Balis, Shahs have installed an electricity generator”, it said.

A communication dated 20.8.2021 also reflects that the Tehsildar, Anantnag directed the petitioner Shah in August 2021 through summon to remain present on spot with a view to demarcate the land in the presence of the parties.

However, on the day of demarcation Shah got a status quo order.

The Shahs according to the records have constructed certain huts over their land by the name of Shah Huts and they are most probably running them as commercial enterprise. They have appeared to have installed a generator set over the pint of land belonging to the Balis.

“Clearly, the intention of Shahs appears to be to encroach the land of the migrants for which the District Magistrate, Anantnag was taking legal action under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Migrant Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection and Restraint on Distress Sales) Act, 1997 (for short, Act of 1997)”, observed Justice Thakur.

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