Persons in illegal occupation of panchayat land cannot claim regularisation as matter of right: SCFebruary 6, 2021
The top court was hearing a plea filed by residents of Sarsad village in Tehsil Gohana in Haryana’s Sonepat district who encroached upon panchayat land and constructed houses.
The Haryana government in 2000 framed a policy regarding sale of panchayat land in unauthorised possession outside ‘Abadi Deh’ (the residential area of a revenue estate). Haryana also amended the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964 and issued a notification in 2008.
Thereafter, in 2008, Rule 12(4) was incorporated in the 1964 Rules in terms of the notification dated January 3, 2008, which authorises Gram Panchayat to sell its non- cultivable land in Shamlat Deh (vacant land) to the inhabitants of the village who have constructed their houses on or before March 31, 2000. The petitioners in this case, who were in illegal possession of the land belonging to Gram Panchayat, made an application under Rule 12(4) of the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Rules, 1964.
The Deputy Commissioner, Sonepat on perusal of the record and the site report, rejected their application holding that as the applicants are in illegal occupation of the area more than the required area up to a maximum of 200 square yards, they are not entitled to the benefit of Rule 12(4). The Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed a writ petition challenging the order passed by the authority.
The apex court held the competent authority as well as the high court both are justified in taking the view that as the respective petitioners are in illegal occupation of the area more than the required area up to a maximum of 200 square yards, they are not entitled to the benefit of Rule 12(4). “It is required to be noted that the persons in illegal occupation of the Government Land/Panchayat Land cannot, as a matter of right, claim regularization.
“Regularisation of the illegal occupation of the Government Land/Panchayat Land can only be as per the policy of the State Government and the conditions stipulated in the Rules,” the bench said. The top court said that if it is found that the conditions stipulated for regularisation have not been fulfilled, such persons in illegal occupation of the government or panchayat land are not entitled to regularisation.