The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday told the Supreme Court that it will continue to not take coercive action against people who have challenged the High Court’s decision to scrap the Roshni Act, PTI reported.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Surya Kant, NV Ramana and Aniruddha Bose was hearing six such petitions. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Jammu and Kashmir government, informed the court that the review petition against the verdict was pending in the High Court and is scheduled to be taken up on Thursday.
At the previous hearing on December 10, the solicitor general had said that the petitioners were not “land grabbers” and no coercive action will be taken against them.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had asked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to decide on the review pleas against its verdict.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had on October 9 declared the Roshni Act “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable” and ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to inquire into the allotment of land under this legislation. Several petitioners, including former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary Mohammed Shafi Pandit, have challenged the scrapping of the Act in the Supreme Court.
Enacted in 2001, the Act proposed to transfer ownership of state land to its occupants for a fee determined by the government. Money from these transfers was to fund power projects in Jammu and Kashmir – earning it the moniker, “Roshni Act”.
For years, transactions under the law had been plagued by allegations of corruption and was challenged in court. According to popular opinion, land allocations under the Act favoured political elites and powerful officials.
However, several allocations were also made to poor families who had occupied state land for years. This is especially true of the largely Muslim nomadic Gujjar and Bakarwal communities, who have historically been poor and landless.