Governor H R Bhardwaj has returned the Karnataka Land Revenue (Second Amendment) Bill, 2012, also known as the Akrama-Sakrama Bill, which was passed in both the Houses of the Legislature during the previous BJP government.
The Governor sent back the bill on the ground that “the amendment does not serve any public good or social cause. On the other hand, it may lead to illegal grabbing of government land.”
Bhardwaj said, “The two Houses of the Legislature need to reconsider the Bill now in the light of the observations made above. Hence the Bill is returned to the Karnataka State Legislative Assembly and the Karnataka Legislative Council for reconsideration.”
Assembly speaker Kagodu Thimmappa read out the message under Article 200 of the Constitution on Wednesday.
The Governor has stated that “the Karnataka Land Revenue (Second Amendment) Bill, 2012, seeking to insert a new section 94 CC in the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964, providing for grant of land in the case of unauthorised construction of dwelling houses in government land in urban areas, has been passed by both the Houses of the Legislature. This legislation has been brought with the intention of regularising unauthorised occupation of revenue land belonging to government in urban areas with dwelling houses constructed prior to January 1, 2012, by granting the land to unauthorised occupants. Section 94 CC of the Land Revenue Act provided for the same object was in force from April 14, 1998. This section provided for grant of land belonging to government and unauthorisedly occupied by a person, where the dwelling house was constructed prior to April 14, 1998. It was a one time measure. However it is not known why such lands under unauthorised occupation made prior to April 14, 1998 could not be granted till now.”
Bhardwaj has observed that “The government had constituted a task force for protection of public lands headed by V Balasubramanian, a retired additional chief secretary to government. The task force, in its report, has brought out that over 11 lakh acres of government lands are under unauthorised occupation. The report has highlighted that large chunks of land, especially in urban areas has been grabbed on account of increasing cost of land. This kind of unabated regularisation of unauthorised construction in government land would no doubt directly encourage encroachment of government land by land grabbers. The Joint Legislature Committee constituted to go into the details of the problem of land grabbing and encroachments, has also observed that because of the inaction of the government to let go the crooked land grabbers, real estate agents and their daring abettors, ordinary citizens have come to lose faith in government and administration. It is, therefore, the considered opinion of this committee that it is absolutely essential for government to take stringent action against land grabbers and their abettors.”
The policy of regularisation of encroachment of government land directly encourages illegal occupation of government land. This amendment would cause severe inroads into the lofty principles such as rule of law, equality before law, due process, majesty of law, dignity of courts, inalienable fundamental rights, directive principles etc.
In the larger interest of the public, illegal occupation of government land has to be curbed, he said.