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Whether any other land can be purchased by the respondents herein and which can be offered to the panchayat which can be used for the playground. 

Court Name: SUPREME COURT OF INDIA 

Judgement Name: The State of Haryana Versus Satpal & Ors.

Judgement Date: MARCH 03, 2023

Bench: J. M.R. Shah, J. B.V. Nagarathna, 

 

Facts of the case

The appeal has been filed due to being dissatisfied with the impugned judgement passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. Herein the present respondent is in possession of unauthorised land Khasra Nos. 61/2 and 62 that actually belongs to Gram Panchayat. The Sarpanch had made an application that clearly demarcated the land as unauthorised possession. Thereafter eviction proceedings took place by filing ejectment application under Section 7(2) of Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Act. And ejectment was passed.  Aggrieved by the order the respondents preferred an appeal before the collector that was rejected. Ultimately, they appealed to the High Court for quashing. The High Court in its preliminary hearing found that the part owned by the original writ petitioners is part of school premises and they are ready to give equivalent area in exchange to the Gram Panchayat. Due to the dispute w.r.t the total area under the occupation of the original petitioners. The High Court issued a fresh demarcation that was directed to be conducted under supervision of the Local Commissioner. The commissioner submitted the report stating that the original petitioners are under the unauthorized possession of Gram Panchayat Land. The High court passed the order stating that the new Gram Panchayat is to consider the claim of the individual encroachers on merits and take appropriate decisions. And decided to invoke powers under Rule 12 and determine the market value of land. And finally, the petition was disposed of. Then, a Review Application was preferred which was also dismissed. The High Court has passed the order to legalise the unauthorised occupation and possession made by original petitioners. But this court had made a fresh demarcation where it was viewed that there is no playground found of the concerned school, nor is any Panchayati land and the land that is near the Khasara are actually owned by another persons who are not willing to sell the land. And hence the land embarked by the original petitioners is approximately 5 kanal and 4 marla land belonging to the gram panchayat used for school. And hence the present petitioner concludes that directions issued by the High Court cannot be implemented.

 

Contentions of the Petitioner

  • There is no playground at all. And the school is surrounded by unauthorized construction.
  • The possession of land that is reserved for the school and playground cannot be held legally. And there cannot be any school without a playground. As the students are also entitled to a good environment.
  • The high court has misinterpreted the case and granted a wrong decision. The High Court is not capable of implementing the segregation of the vacant land from residential houses.
  • The unauthorised construction of the school is in such a manner that some areas are not used for residential purposes and some areas are covered by vegetation. And so, not possible for segregation.  
  • There isn’t any land that could be used for school premises that could be used as Panchayati land and the adjacent land belongs to some private person who is not willing to sell their lands. 

 

Contentions of Respondents

  • The respondents are ready to give the equivalent part to the panchayat at some other place and equal to double the extent of the encroached land and other petitioners are willing to pay its market price.

 

Observations of the court

  • The possession of land that is reserved for the school and playground cannot be held legally. And there cannot be any school without a playground. As the students are also entitled to a good environment.
  • The unauthorised construction of the school is in such a manner that some areas are not used for residential purposes and some areas are covered by vegetation. And so, not possible for segregation.
  • The court has observed that the said land is at a distance of about 1 Km away from Khasra Nos. 61/2 and 62 and so it has been established that the respondents have encroached upon approximately 5 Kanal and 4 marla of land that has been with Gram Panchayat that is embarked for the school. 
  • The court has observed through the map and sketch the directions issued by the High Court are not capable of being implemented. 
  • The court after hearing the counsels have observed that the school is surrounded by unauthorized construction and possession of the land is illegal.

 

Judgement

The Supreme Court held that the directions issued by the High Court to legalize the unauthorized occupation and possession made by the original writ petitioners on the land that has been titled for the school premises and playground is unsustainable and the same should be quashed and set aside. 

And the original writ petitions are granted 12 months’ time to vacate the land, which is occupied by them and if they do not vacate within one year the appropriate authority is directed to remove them.  

 

Opinion

The judgement passed by the Supreme Court is fair in concern to the students who study in the school. as the playground is required to be utilized for playing and extracurricular activities which is a much needed requirement of the school and also any kind of unauthorized utilization of the land is not correct. 

 

Written by: Anisha Dad

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