The State government on Tuesday agreed, in principle, to constitute special courts to try cases of encroachment of government land and to get Presidential nod for the Karnataka Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2011, passed by the Karnataka legislature.
The decision was taken after a meeting where freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, the former MLA A.T. Ramaswamy, environmentalist A.N. Yellappa Reddy, Minister for Revenue V. Srinivas Prasad, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra and senior government officials and others participated.
Earlier, Mr. Doreswamy and others staged a protest in front of the chambers of Mr. Jayachandra demanding immediate steps to get Presidential assent for the Bill. They alleged that the government was not serious about tackling land grabbing and was indifferent towards the Bill.
Mr. Jayachandra told presspersons that the government would take immediate steps to send a clarification to the Union government, which had inquired whether the State government would constitute special court/s to deal with the cases and provide necessary funding/infrastructure. The matter would immediately be discussed with the Chief Minister, he said.Encroachment
Mr. Ramaswamy, who headed the Joint Legislature Committee on government land encroachment, urged the Ministers to act immediately, saying that in Bangalore, 8,834 acres of Revenue Department land was found to be encroached upon even as encroachments of various other departments and agencies, including BDA, BBMP, Muzrai and Waqf Board, were yet to be ascertained. Mr. Ramaswamy said that it is not the poor who have encroached upon government land, but the powerful who have done it with impunity and with the help of government officials.
One of the special deputy commissioners of Bangalore Urban district had ordered issue of khata in 428 cases for 1,040 acres of land, which was found to belong to the government, he said.Endless litigation
The special courts provided for in the Bill would have both civil and criminal jurisdiction and will have to complete trial within six months. It is just not enough to reclaim the encroached land, but also recover the usufructuary profits from the encroacher, Mr. Ramaswamy said.
Intervening, Principal Secretary, Revenue, Basavaraj, said that the Union government had sought a clarification in December 2012 on the setting up of a special court or to refer the cases to the existing CBI special courts.
Law Secretary K.B. Chengappa said that a retired or serving High Court judge has to head the special court, along with two members on the judicial and revenue sides.