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Roshni Act

Roshni Act

Context:

The Jammu & Kashmir administration has recently released a series of lists of alleged beneficiaries of the Roshni Act of 2001 which gave ownership rights to the unauthorized occupants of state land against payment of a premium.

Roshni Act:

  • The Roshni Act was targeted to earn  Rs 25,000 crores by transferring 20 lakh kanals of State land to existing occupants against payment at market rates.
  • The Act also sought the conferment of proprietary rights of around 20.55 lakh kanals of land (1250 hectares) to the occupants.
  • The law initially set 1990 as the cut-off year for encroachment on State land, based on which ownership would be granted.
  • It was implemented with the aim of boosting the farming sector and "generating substantial revenue" for funding power projects.
  • The land-related law, popularly known as the Roshni Act, was brought into force in 2001.
  • The law aimed to grant ownership rights of public land to occupants.

Issues with the Roshni Act:

  • The Roshni Act declared "unconstitutional" by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which fell prey to corruption over the course of the last decade.
  • The CAG report pointed to irregularities in the implementation of the Act as the cause of its failure to generate the expected revenue.
  • The report listed irregularities such as "arbitrary" reduction in prices of the land and said that the reduction was aimed to benefit politicians and other affluent people.
  • In the past, politicians, businessmen, and bureaucrats have been accused of misusing the Act by transferring public land under their name and that of their family members.
  • In 2009, the Jammu and Kashmir vigilance organization registered an FIR against public officials for alleged criminal conspiracy to illegally possess and vest ownership of state land to occupants who didn't satisfy the criteria under the Roshni Act.
  • The details of the applications received under the Act, the valuation of land, amounts paid by the beneficiary, the orders passed under the act, and the persons in whose favor the vesting was done.

Source: Indian Express