Court docket guidelines Gwalpahari land belongs to non-public events

GURUGRAM: The long-drawn battle over ownership of 464 acres of prime land in Gurugram’s village, land which is worth thousands of crores, has swung in favour of private entities at the Gurugram civil court.
In a major setback to the , civil judge Prashant Rana stated that ownership of the 464 acres will rest with the private owners. “The plaintiffs are declared to be owners in possession of their respective suit lands in the cases they have prayed to be declared so,” the judge said in his ruling on April 16. A total of 322 private entities had filed 118 different suits in this case, challenging MCG’s claim of ownership over the land.

The court has also ruled observed that all showcause notices issued by MCG to quoting the Act, 1994, are illegal and void. Commenting on the intent of MCG officials in this regard, the court stated, “The above said showcause notice is not only illegal but malafide and tainted as well.”

The court said the MCG had no jurisdiction to pass such an order deciding the question of title between parties when it itself was a party in the case. The 247-page-long judgment observed that appropriate changes must be made in MCG records, revenue records and all official records in line with the ruling.

The MCG was also restrained from interfering in any matter related to possession, ownership, construction and use of the land that belongs to the plaintiffs (in this case, the 322 private entities). “In case MCG has caused any damage to properties and constructions of the plaintiffs, they shall be entitled to claim damages by way of separate court proceedings,” the court ruled.

MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav said, “We have received the judgment today and our lawyers are interpreting it. But we will definitely challenge it in the sessions court.”

One of the private entities, , had moved the Punjab and Haryana high court in the ownership case. The high court had then transferred the case to the Gurugram civil court.

A five-judge bench of the high court had ruled on July 22, 2016 that common land (shamlat deh) in villages that have been notified under municipal corporations but have been contributed by individual land owners to the panchayat for agrarian purposes belong to the original individual owners. Thus, if a municipal corporation wanted to acquire ‘shamlat deh’, it would have to pay compensation to the original land owners at market rate.

The ruling came in the case Suraj Bhan and ASF Buildwell vs the State of Haryana. The private entities have an operation SEZ in Gwalpahari. In August 2017, the high court had asked the private parties to move the civil court. The ownership of land in Gwalpahari has been the subject of a tussle between the government and private entities since the mid-1950s when a mutation was carried out transferring ownership to the gram panchayat. After that, several Gurugram administrators passed a series of contradictory orders that saw ownership swinging between the private parties and the government.

In 2008, when MCG was formed, its municipal limits subsumed Gwalpahari. So far referred to as Mutation No. 610, these 464 acres were on July 2, 2012, transferred to MCG through Mutation No. 3110. Some private owners approached then financial commissioner revenue (FCR) YS Malik, who ruled there were procedural lapses in the way Mutation No. 3110 was done. On December 1, 2015, Mutation No. 3110 was cancelled and the land given back to private entities. Additional civil judge Rajesh Kumar Yadav of Sohna civil court, on December 17, 2015, while hearing a related case, said till the time the case was decided, revenue officials cannot interfere in possession or alter records without following due process of law. Despite this, on December 18, 2015, a new mutation, No. 3249, was once again entered in the name of MCG.

In 2017, former deputy commissioner T L Satyaprakash said in a report officials had exceeded their jurisdiction and did not follow due process while sanctioning Mutation No. 3249 in gross violation of Malik’s order. He also asserted legal opinion should be sought in this case. Former MCG commissioner V Umashankar approached the divisional commissioner and got a stay on any transfer of land after this. The battle then moved to the civil court and high court.

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