In a landmark decision, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has resolved to enact a tough law to sternly deal with land mafia illegally grabbing land owned by government, local self-government, public and religious trusts, farmers and private citizens.
He will present the proposal to this effect at the State Cabinet scheduled to meet here tomorrow as part of his resolve to simplify laws related to revenue and greater use of technology to make it faceless system.
There has been increasing demand on land to create necessary infrastructure to meet Gujarat’s exponential all round development in the fields of agriculture, economic, social and business during the last two decades, emerging as ‘Land of Opportunity’ and ‘Best Choice for Investment’ among investors in India and abroad.
The pressure on land is felt more acutely for housing and for providing civic amenities in municipal corporation and industrial areas, resulting in steep rise in market price of the land.
This is to check certain elements’ bid to become rich overnight in collusion with vested interests engaged in sale and purchase of land indulge to threaten and forcibly occupy government and private land physically with the help of forged document and fraudulence. In certain cases, these elements in collision with the administartion, transfer the illegally occupied land in other’s name.
The state government has been from time-to-time receiving complaints from a large number of people, farmers, religious trusts about forcible occupation of their land, selling it to third parties and even constructing building on such land. The government comes to know about such individual illegal cases as they created law-and-order problem for the state government.
The proposed law proposes minimum 10 years to maximum 14 years imprisonment and fine corresponding to the market price of the land against such elements, who not only illegally occupy government or private land but the burden of proof will also be on illegal tenants who use such illegally occupied rented land.
Police officers of the rank of deputy superintendent of police will be empowered to interrogate such illegal activity.
With this law coming into force, illegal land grabbing will be discouraged and genuine owners of the land would get right price for their land and could heave a sigh of relief.
Since the State Assembly is not in session now and the State Government intends to implement the new law with immediate effect, the Chief Minister proposes to present the proposal before the Council of Ministers to move it as an Ordinance, to check illegal land grabbing and transfers with immediate effect.
The major provisions of the proposed The Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act-Ordinance 2020 are as follows:
It has stern provisions to treat any activity involving land grabbing, will prohibit such activity and will be a crime.
Since the new law is likely to uncover a large number of such cases by land mafia they would be taken up in special courts for speedy, transparent disposal to punish land mafia within six months. Such courts can suo moto take up cases of land grabbing as well, and proceed.
The government will appoint a public prosecutor for land grab cases alone.
It proposes minimum 10 years to maximum 14 years imprisonment and exemplary penalty corresponding to the market price of the land against land grabbers and even those assisting the land grabbers.
It has same provisions of imprisonment and fine for the sellers or buyers of such land and those who construct buildings on such illegally grabbed land.
The state government has recently introduced many reforms in land revenue cases involving agriculture, dairy, health and setting up educational institutions and bona fide industrial purposes
Source: Information Department, Gujarat