‘Policy to regularise encroached land will encourage illegal occupation’

Governor H.R. Bhardwaj has returned the Karnataka Land Revenue (Second Amendment) Bill, 2012, passed by the State legislature providing for regularisation of unauthorised house constructions on encroached government land in urban areas to the legislature for reconsideration.

Mr. Bhardwaj, who in his message to the legislature sent under Article 200 of the Constitution, said the Bill caused severe erosion of the lofty principles of rule of law. Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa tabled the message before the Legislative Assembly.

The message explained that the Bill sought to insert a new Section 94CC in the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, providing for “grant of land in the case of unauthorised construction of dwelling houses on government land in urban areas”.

Task force’s findings

Mr. Bhardwaj also said the government had constituted a task force to probe into unauthorised occupation of government lands. In its report, the task force detected unauthorised occupation of 11 lakh acres of government land and a large chunk of it was in urban areas encroached by land grabbers. “This unabated regularisation of unauthorised construction would no doubt encourage encroachment of government land by land grabbers,” the Governor said.

Similar case

The Supreme Court, in its judgement in Jaspal Singh and others versus State of Punjab case, categorically said that long duration of illegal occupation or huge expenditure in making constructions there on or political connections must not be treated as a justification for condoning this illegal act or for regularising the illegal possession, the Governor quoted.

Land grabbing

Mr. Bhardwaj said the amendment does not specifically prohibit grant/regularisation of common land and does not serve any public good or social cause. On the other hand it may lead to illegal grabbing of government land.