Jammu & Kashmir High Court Orders Defense Ministry to Compensate ₹2.49 Crore Rent to Individuals Displaced by Army’s Land Acquisition

The recent judgment of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh regarding the rental compensation for Displaced Persons from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) whose land was illegally taken over by the Indian Army in 1978.

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh recently made a significant judgment in favor of twenty-four families comprising Displaced Persons (DPs) from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). These families had their land forcefully taken over by the Indian Army in 1978 without following the due process of law and without any rental compensation being paid.

Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal, presiding over the case, observed that once land is allotted to DPs for their rehabilitation, it cannot be taken away without proper compensation. The court emphasized the legal obligation of the Union of India to pay the rental compensation assessed by the State Government to the petitioners. Additionally, if the government intends to retain the land, it must go through the land acquisition process and provide compensation accordingly.

The court’s ruling stated that the Central government illegally and unconstitutionally took over the land of the displaced persons. It also highlighted the violation of their basic rights, as well as the deprivation of their valuable constitutional rights without following the required legal procedures.

In the case, the judgment pertained to the descendants of displaced persons from PoK who were allotted land for their rehabilitation in 1953. However, their land was unlawfully occupied by the Indian Army in 1978. Over the years, committees were formed to determine the compensation owed to the displaced persons. The amount of ₹2.49 crores was agreed upon for the period from January 1, 1978, to March 31, 2009, but the payment was never made by the Central government.

Seeking justice, the displaced persons approached the High Court in 2018, and after years of legal proceedings, the Court ruled in their favor on December 14, 2023. The Court declared that the Union of India has been unauthorizedly occupying the land since 1978, and this occupation continues to persist.

As a result of the judgment, the Court has directed the respondent authorities to pay ₹2.49 crores of rental compensation to the displaced persons within a month, after necessary verification. Additionally, the Court ordered the estimation and payment of additional rent from 2009 onwards, in accordance with the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation, and Resettlement Act, 2013.

[Saroop Singh and Ors. V/S Union of India and Ors.]

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