The Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, or the Roshni Act was enacted by the Farooq Abdullah government in 2001.
Under the Act, state land that had been encroached upon has to be regularised or legally transferred to the occupants against payment at market rates. The Act had set 1990 as the cut-off year for encroachment on state land.
The J&K government on October 31 decided to declare all the actions taken under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, also known as the Roshni Act, under which 20 lakhs Kanal of land was to be transferred to existing occupants, as “null and void”, and has decided to retrieve the land within six months.
“The J&K government has decided to implement the High Court order, where it declared the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 as amended from time to time as unconstitutional, contrary to law and unsustainable,” an official spokesperson said.
The J&K government said it has found necessary that in order to implement the judgment passed by the High Court, “directions are required to be issued”, In an order issued by the J&K Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor.
The Principal Secretary, Revenue Department, shall work out modalities for handling the money received for these lands after the annulment, it added.
According to the order, complete identities of all influential persons, including Ministers, legislators, bureaucrats, government officials, police officers, businessmen, etc., and their relatives or persons holding Benami for them, who have derived benefit under the Act, will be made public. “The action shall be completed within a period of one month,” it added.
In 2014, the Comptroller and Auditor General estimated that only ₹76 crores had been realized from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013.