Court directs ACB to register FIR in encroachment of prime temple land

23/03/2021

Jammu, Mar 22: Special Judge Anticorruption Jammu Yash Pal Bourney directed SSP Anticorruption Bureau Jammu to register FIR in alleged encroachment of Prime Temple Land at Canal Road.
This significant order has been passed in a petition filed by Romesh Kumar & Ashok Kumar against Udhey Sharma, Padam Kumar & Officials of the Revneue, Nzaool and JMC.
Special Judge Anticorruption Jammu Yash Pal Bourney after gone through the complaint, documents and the report of SSP ACB, observed that it appears that investigating agency has missed to comprehend and address the core issue forming the gist if the order accusations. Admittedly Govt of erstwhile state of J&K vide order No. Rev 391 of 1976 dated December 3, 1976 accorded sanction for regularization of 4 Kanals and one marla of state land comprised Khasra No 477 min and 488 min situated at Nowbad (Krishna Nagar) Canal Road Jammu in favour of temples Shivji Maharaj and Satyanarayan Ji Maharaj which, during the relevant point of time were under the management of two brothers, Bawa Krishan Dass and Bawa Gopal Dass, on lease hold basis for a period of 40 years w.e.f. 09of April 1963 on payment of annual rent @ Rs. 50/- per annum with further express condition that area .shall foe used for religious purposes only. Rightly so, the land couldn't have been granted to the Bawas (saints) who had renounced (he world at the first place and it was also not known as to where from they came since there used to be a restriction on the acquisition of laud within (he state by the persons who were not the permanent residents. It appears that one of the Bawas namely; Bawa Gopal Dass had adopted family life and respondents Udhey Sharma & Padam Kumar, beside*, Ravi Kumar Sharma happens to be his sons. In the meanwhile and by the time the term of lease was about to expire, The J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the occupants) Act 2001 cane to be enacted.
Court further said that it appears that respondents applied for the conferment of ownership rights under the said Act withholding the subsequent clarificatory order and by suppression of the factum that leasehold rights in the land in question were actually granted to the deities (as clarified by order dated 03.12.1976) and to the individual bawas as was mentioned in the initial order dated 23.11.1976. In this way, they succeeded in misleading the authorities who went on to confer the ownership rights to the individual respondents over almost whole of the land barring the sanctum sanctorum. In this behalf, respondents look advantage of the language of the initial order to canvas falsely and misled the authorities to believe that land in question was granted to their predecessors-in-interest and ultimately got the same regularized under the Roshni Act in their own names. Not only that they have gone further to apportion divide the said land barring the portion under the temple amongst themselves in three shares as is evident from the copy of the plan of division placed on record by the complainants and have succeeded in obtaining sanction for raising their private residential structures by misleading the authorities of JMC Jammu consciously and knowingly that land in question did not belong to them and if was actually regularized in favour of the deities. Not only that it was also well known to them from the very beginning thai it was meant to be used for religious purposes only and not for the private use by them.
The matter has further got crystallized by withdrawal of the NOC and sanction by the authorities concerned. A feeble attempt is made Adv SM Choudhary who appeared on behalf of the respondents, even though they have no right to address the court al this stage, that it was a private temple not to be used by the public and a portion of land in question measuring 10 Marlas towards the road stood allotted to one Mr. Dr. Garni Shanker which are against record and stand belied by none else but the sketch plan of division got drawn by the respondents themselves showing clearly that the land in question extended and was covered by the roads from three sides. Also, there can't be a'private temple on public land and moreover, it is nobody's case that temples were raised by the bawas.
Upon this Special Judge Anticorruption Jammu observed that the investigating agency has thus failed to comprehend the true import and gravity of the accusations and Tierice the conclusions drawn by it cannot be accepted. It is indeed very disturbing that prime temple land has been encroaches upon in broad day light and its user has been changed but the premier investigating agency of the state is still clueless.
With these observations, Court directed SSP ACB to register a formal case under, appropriate sections in light of the observations made hereinabove and take necessary action immediately forthwith and also to submit a compliance report within two month's time.

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