Court in Occupied Kashmir Orders Ministry to Pay Rent of Land Occupied by Army

Thu Dec 21 2023
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SRINAGAR, Occupied Kashmir: The High Court in Indian Illegally-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has instructed the Indian Ministry of Defence to settle outstanding rental dues totaling Rs 2.49 crores for 24 families whose land has been unlawfully held by the Indian Army.

This directive follows the Army’s forceful acquisition of the land in 1978 from Displaced Persons of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, without due legal procedures or compensation, as reported by Kashmir Media Service.

Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal highlighted that the Indian Army’s occupation of the land designated for displaced persons since 1953 was without proper legal processes and lacked compensation for the rightful owners for over four decades.

The court emphasized that once land is allocated for rehabilitation, it cannot be taken without lawful procedures or adequate compensation. It deemed the Indian government’s acquisition of the land unconstitutional and illegal, insisting that if the government wishes to retain the land, it must do so following legal protocols, including compensating the rightful owners.

The Union of India was ruled legally responsible to pay the rental compensation decided by the occupied Kashmir administration to the petitioners. Despite committees being formed over the years to determine compensation, the promised Rs 2.49 crores for the period between January 1, 1978, and March 31, 2009, was never disbursed.

In its verdict on December 14, 2023, the High Court affirmed the Indian government’s unauthorized possession of the land since 1978, stating a violation of the basic rights of the petitioners. The court directed authorities to pay the outstanding Rs 2.49 crores in rental compensation to the claimants within a month. Additionally, it mandated the estimation of further rent from 2009 onward under the Land Acquisition Act within a month, warning of a 6 percent per annum interest if the compensation is delayed.

Advocate Jagpaul Singh represented the petitioners, while Indian Government Standing Counsel Sandeep Gupta represented the Indian government, and Senior Additional Advocate General Monika Kohli appeared for the Deputy Commissioner, Jammu.

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