J&K High Court Remands Matter to J&K Special Tribunal for Re-Consideration

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On 1st September 2020, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur heard the case of Kunti Kumar and Anr. Vs. J&K Special Tribunal and Anr, via video-conferencing. The Court held that the order passed by the J&K Special Tribunal is unsustainable. Therefore, they were set aside.

Facts of the case

The dispute arose about the possession of land measuring 12 kanals which fell under Khasra No. 162, Kathua. The respondent – Hanso claimed that the said land was based upon adverse possession. The said respondent owned the said land since 1964. During the earlier round of litigation, on 16th January 2006, the Collector Agrarian Reforms (Assistant Commissioner) recorded a finding in favour of the respondent. The order stated that the said respondent owned the land for more than twelve years. Therefore, he was declared as its owner by way of adverse possession under Section 19 (E) of the Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976. 

The above order was challenged before the Commissioner Agrarian Reforms, Kathua by way of an appeal. On 29th May 2011, it was dismissed by Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kathua with powers of Commissioner Agrarian Reforms. Further, this order was challenged before the J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu by way of a revision petition. The same was dismissed vide order dated 9th March 2015. Hence, the present writ petition is filed against the order of J&K Special Tribunal.

Arguments of the Petitioners

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The learned counsel for the petitioners argued that the authorities ignored the fact that the claim by way of adverse possession could succeed only if the adverse possession was for or beyond the period of twelve years. In the present case, respondents claimed possession of the land since 1964. However, in 1973, the petitioners filed a civil suit for possession against the respondents. This was transferred to the Authority under the Agrarian Reforms Act in 1978. Therefore, on the date of filing of the civil suit for possession, the right of the respondents had not fructified in one of the adverse possessions.

Court’s Analysis

Upon a perusal of all three orders stated, it is prima facie clear that they are non-speaking orders. Further, none of the authorities has taken the trouble of considering the effect of the civil suit for possession filed by the petitioner in 1973. The authorities had to consider the effect of the filing of the civil suit in 1973 keeping in view the fact that the respondents claimed possession only from 1964. 

Court’s Decision

The Court held that the orders impugned are unsustainable. Thus, they are set aside. The matter is remanded to the Special Tribunal, Jammu for re-consideration. The Court disposed of the petition. The parties are directed to appear before the Tribunal on 30th September 2020.

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