Centre to SC: No Coercive Action Against Roshni Act Petitioners

The review petition for the case is listed on 21 December in the High Court.

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The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Thursday, 10 December, informed the Supreme Court that no coercive action will be taken against petitioners who have approached the court in the matter connected with the Roshni Act.

A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana asked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to decide by 21 December the petitions seeking review of its verdict scrapping the Roshni Act.

Mehta, representing the Jammu and Kashmir administration, orally submitted before the top court that no coercive action will be taken against petitioners, who moved the court, as they are not land grabbers.

A batch of petitions have been filed in the top court by persons, who claimed to be lawful leaseholders, against the verdict of the High Court delivered on 9 October, declaring the Roshni Act “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable”.

Mehta submitted before the bench also comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Aniruddha Bose that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has already filed a review petition in the high court.

He reiterated that the government’s stand is that it is not against authorised leaseholders, but against illegal encroacher. The bench observed that there is a lot of confusion in the matter. Mehta reiterated, "I am assuring no coercive action against the petitioners.”

The bench noted that the review petition in the High Court is listed on 21 December and that till the review is decided it will not be appropriate to interfere.

The High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of land under the Act.

In 2001, the Roshni Act was enacted with the twin objective: resources for financing power projects and conferment of proprietary rights to the occupants of state land. The top court noted that it will hear the matter in the last week of January.

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