J&K portal to redress property disputes of migrants

L-G assures time-bound solution to complaints of fraudulent sale, encroachment of immovable assets

September 07, 2021 07:18 pm | Updated 07:18 pm IST - Srinagar

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday launched an online portal for time-bound redressal of grievances related to Kashmiri migrants’ immovable properties in the Union Territory (UT).

“This initiative will put an end to the plight of the migrants including Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, who have been suffering since the 1990s. It is the responsibility of the present to rectify the mistakes of the past. I met numerous delegations from across religions in the last 13 months and they unequivocally supported the return of migrants,” Mr. Sinha said.

An official said an application filed on the portal will be disposed of in a fixed timeframe under the Public Services Guarantee Act, 2011, by the revenue authorities. The competent authority has been directed to undertake survey and field verification of migrant properties and update all registers within a period of 15 days and submit a compliance report to the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir.

The Lieutenant Governor said this is the time to heal the old wounds. “I request all the citizens to support the administration in this effort and set a new example of brotherhood,” he added.

Referring to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Sinha said, “We are trying to implement comprehensive and constructive programmes for social equality and harmony in Jammu and Kashmir.”

He said his administration was working with greater responsibility to establish the rule of law and create an ideal harmonious society reflecting the true essence of Kashmiriyat.

According to the government figures, nearly 60,000 families migrated from the Valley during the turmoil, out of which approximately 44,000 migrant families are registered with Relief Organisation, Jammu and Kashmir. Out of those 44,000 migrant families, 40,142 are Hindu families, 2,684 are Muslim families and 1,730 belong to the Sikh community.

“During the trial run of the portal, we have received 854 grievances. It clearly shows a large number of migrant families were awaiting justice. Now, the time bound action on complaints will not only restore the faith of people in the system but I believe thousands of families will achieve closure, justice and regain their dignity,” the Lt. Governor said.

Officials said under compelling circumstances, the immovable properties of these migrants got either encroached or they were forced to sell their properties at throwaway prices.

In order to address this issue, on June 2, 1997, The Jammu and Kashmir Migrant Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection and Restraint on Distress Sales) Act, was enacted. The Act provided for preservation, protection and restraint on distress sales of the immovable property of migrants.

“The implementation of this Act, however, was a non-starter and replete with instances of non-performance. Despite various provisions, numerous instances of distress sale and alienation by different means have been reported. The cases under Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976, were neither properly enumerated nor contested,” a government spokesman said.

The spokesman said ex-parte decisions were taken, and non-migrants have been shown as prospective owners. “Even in some cases, tenancy has been created by showing non-existing tenants since 1971 by way of fraud or cheating, which was not permissible under section 13 of the said Act,” he added.

The official said the involvement of senior level functionaries, exclusively for the avowed purpose under the Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976, is expected to bring requisite force and focus.

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