Gujarat Assembly Passes Stringent Law To Punish Land Grabbers
The Gujarat Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a stringent law, with a provision of up to 14 years of imprisonment, to curb land-grabbing activities in the state. Legislators from both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress gave their approval to the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill on the fourth day of the Assembly's Monsoon session.
- Last Updated: September 24, 2020, 21:33 IST
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Gandhinagar: The Gujarat Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a stringent law, with a provision of up to 14 years of imprisonment, to curb land-grabbing activities in the state. Legislators from both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress gave their approval to the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill on the fourth day of the Assembly’s Monsoon session.
The bill has replaced an ordinance which was brought in August. As per the Bill, a land grabber is a person who sells, allots or tries to sell illegally acquired land, incites others to commit land grabbing, possesses or uses grabbed land, carries out construction on such land or gets any person to do all these on his behalf.
“Now, those found guilty of any of these crimes will be liable for 10 to 14 years of imprisonment and penalty equivalent to the jantri (government) rate of the land in question,” state Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel said. Under the proposed legislation, special courts will be set up to ensure that such cases are disposed of within six months, Patel said, adding the burden of proof will be on the accused.
While the state government would appoint a special public prosecutor to speed up trial, special courts will be empowered to take up any land grabbing case suo motu, the minister said. “The legislation will cover both public as well as privately-owned land, including those of farmers, local bodies, trusts and religious bodies,” he said.
Congress MLAs also supported the new law, but cautioned the BJP government against its misuse by the police or revenue staff. Congress MLA Geniben Thakor even suggested that poor and landless people living in huts on government land should not be considered as land grabbers.
The revenue minister assured the House that innocent people will not be harassed under this law and the special court will be free to apply principles of natural justice while dealing with land grabbing cases.
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