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Anti-land grabbing Bill passed in House

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, July 17 � The Assam Legislative Assembly today passed the Assam Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2010 to deal with the menace of land grabbing by land mafia and other unscrupulous elements. The Act will be applicable in both the urban and rural areas of the State except for the Autonomous Councils constituted under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Revenue Minister, Dr Bhumidhar Barman said that the Government would soon have discussions with the Councils and the same would be made applicable in those areas if the Councils want the same.

In his statement for objects and reasons for the Bill, the Revenue Minister said, �it has come to the notice of the Government that there were attempts by certain lawless persons operating either individually or in groups to grab by force or by deceit or otherwise, land belonging to either government, or local authority, or religious or charitable institutions or any other private persons. As public order is also adversely affected by the land grabbers, it is felt necessary to curb such unlawful activities by enacting a special law.�

Dr Barman said that the persons rendered homeless by flood or erosion would not be affected by the Bill. He assured the House that the

Government was making all out efforts to provide land to the people rendered landless by natural calamities or any other such incident wherever government land is available. He further assured the House that the Government would take all possible steps to protect the historical sites from the grasps of the land grabbers.

Earlier, raising apprehension, CPM member Ananta Deka expressed that the Act might be misused against those rendered homeless by calamities, natural or otherwise. He called upon the Government to provide land to such persons. He also said that a huge number of people of the State have been staying on Government land for years and they should be given permanent settlement.

Anup Phukan (AGP) demanded that immediate steps should be taken to protect the historical and archaeological sites from the land grabbers.

Under the provisions of the Act, the land grabbers can be imprisoned for a term no less than two years, which can be extended to five years and with fine which may extend to Rs 25,000. Anyone found to be involved in sale of grabbed land, instigates land grabbing, etc. would also be liable to be punished under the Act.

As per the Bill, special tribunal would be constituted for enquiry into any allegation of land grabbing and trial of cases in this regard. The tribunal would be headed by a sitting or retired Judge of the High Court. One of the members would be a person who was or has been a district and sessions judge and the other would be a person who was or has been a member of the Indian Administrative Service not below the level of Secretary to the Government with special knowledge of revenue matters.

Under the provisions of the Bill, the onus of proof lies on the person who is alleged to be a land grabber. The Bill said, �when a plot of land is alleged to have been grabbed and the land is prima facie proved to belong to Government or any individual, the special tribunal shall presume that the person who is alleged to have grabbed the land is a land grabber and the burden of proving that the land was not grabbed by him shall be on such person.�

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Anti-land grabbing Bill passed in House

GUWAHATI, July 17 � The Assam Legislative Assembly today passed the Assam Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2010 to deal with the menace of land grabbing by land mafia and other unscrupulous elements. The Act will be applicable in both the urban and rural areas of the State except for the Autonomous Councils constituted under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. Revenue Minister, Dr Bhumidhar Barman said that the Government would soon have discussions with the Councils and the same would be made applicable in those areas if the Councils want the same.

In his statement for objects and reasons for the Bill, the Revenue Minister said, �it has come to the notice of the Government that there were attempts by certain lawless persons operating either individually or in groups to grab by force or by deceit or otherwise, land belonging to either government, or local authority, or religious or charitable institutions or any other private persons. As public order is also adversely affected by the land grabbers, it is felt necessary to curb such unlawful activities by enacting a special law.�

Dr Barman said that the persons rendered homeless by flood or erosion would not be affected by the Bill. He assured the House that the

Government was making all out efforts to provide land to the people rendered landless by natural calamities or any other such incident wherever government land is available. He further assured the House that the Government would take all possible steps to protect the historical sites from the grasps of the land grabbers.

Earlier, raising apprehension, CPM member Ananta Deka expressed that the Act might be misused against those rendered homeless by calamities, natural or otherwise. He called upon the Government to provide land to such persons. He also said that a huge number of people of the State have been staying on Government land for years and they should be given permanent settlement.

Anup Phukan (AGP) demanded that immediate steps should be taken to protect the historical and archaeological sites from the land grabbers.

Under the provisions of the Act, the land grabbers can be imprisoned for a term no less than two years, which can be extended to five years and with fine which may extend to Rs 25,000. Anyone found to be involved in sale of grabbed land, instigates land grabbing, etc. would also be liable to be punished under the Act.

As per the Bill, special tribunal would be constituted for enquiry into any allegation of land grabbing and trial of cases in this regard. The tribunal would be headed by a sitting or retired Judge of the High Court. One of the members would be a person who was or has been a district and sessions judge and the other would be a person who was or has been a member of the Indian Administrative Service not below the level of Secretary to the Government with special knowledge of revenue matters.

Under the provisions of the Bill, the onus of proof lies on the person who is alleged to be a land grabber. The Bill said, �when a plot of land is alleged to have been grabbed and the land is prima facie proved to belong to Government or any individual, the special tribunal shall presume that the person who is alleged to have grabbed the land is a land grabber and the burden of proving that the land was not grabbed by him shall be on such person.�