Tarigami approaches Supreme Court against new land laws

Srinagar, Dec 1: Communist Party of India (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has filed an Application for Direction in the pending Writ Petition in the Supreme Court challenging new land laws on behalf of the CPI (M).

In the application, Tarigami submitted that the new land laws promulgated by the Central Government permits anyone from any part of the country to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir including agricultural land and that the same is illegal for the reason that the powers to make such laws are derived by the Central Government from the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 which in itself is unconstitutional.

In the plea, Tarigami points out that the new law prohibits the sale of agricultural land to a non-agriculturist, yet authorizes the government or an officer appointed by it to “grant permission to an agriculturist to alienate the land to a non-agriculturist by way of sale, gift, exchange or mortgage or for such agreement on such conditions as may be prescribed”.

It is submitted that the change of land use can’t be left at the caprice of bureaucracy more so at the lower rung of Distt Collectors, he wrote in the plea.

“The new land laws will also allow any non-resident, even people from outside J&K, to buy agricultural land and to use it for commercial purpose with the permission of the Government. It is submitted that the restriction placed by the erstwhile law to not change the nature of the land from ‘agricultural’ to ‘non-agricultural’ and to not allow non-permanent residents to acquire the agricultural land was aimed at protecting the large swathes of farm land, that provided life blood to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, from commercialization. This crucial aspect has not been considered by the respondents while issuing the notification dated 26.10.2020 whereby new lands laws have been brought into force by the Central Government,” the plea reads.

“It is submitted that new land laws will seriously change the land use pattern and will destroy the food security of the Jammu and Kashmir. In such circumstances, it is submitted that the new land laws issued by the Central Government are stayed till the disposal of the present writ petition as amendment could not have been done using Section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 as the said statute is unconstitutional”.

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