Special Courts in Karnataka for Land Grabbing Cases

Special Courts in Karnataka for Land Grabbing Cases

It has been brought to the notice of Karnataka Government that certain lawless individuals are taking organised attempts to snatch by force, lands of the government or local authority, religious or charitable institutions. On these grabbed lands, they are building co-operative housing societies which are being sold unlawfully. In this way, the buyers are being cheated as well. And the land Grabbers are accumulating a huge amount of unaccounted wealth.

In order to prohibit such unlawful activities of land grabbers in the state and to give justice to the victims, the Karnataka Land Grabbing Prohibition Act has been introduced.

According to this bill, not only the land grabbers are criminals but all the activities related to land grabbing are criminal offences and punishable under this Act. Therefore, no one should commit or get involved in this offence especially after the implementation of this Act. Even the companies that have committed such offence with the consent or due neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or another officer of the company would be held guilty and special charges would be levied against them.

In order to face and solve the huge number of litigations over the anti-encroachment drive, the Karnataka government has decided to establish two special courts that would exclusively handle cases under the Karnataka Land Grabbing Prohibition Act. These special courts shall consist of a chairman, who was a judge of a High Court; and four members, among whom two are or were District Judges and two others, should not hold a post below the rank of a Deputy Commissioner of the district. An additional Bench would also be appointed for speedy trials.

This Special Court on an application made by a person, officer or authority would take into knowledge and try every case that would be arising out of allegations related to the act of land grabbing or with respect to the ownership of land or unlawful possession of the land. These offences could have been committed before or after the commencement of the Land Grabbing Act. These courts will take into consideration the location, extent, value of the land that has been alleged to be grabbed and the nature of the evil involved in the case. The decision made by this court would be considered to be the final verdict. But, if the allegations are proven to be frivolous, then the court shall reject the case without any further enquiry. Once proven guilty, the land grabbers would be imprisoned for the duration of one to three years. They would also have to pay a fine of a minimum of Rs 25000. They might also be asked to return the grabbed land. Only a lawfully residing tenant would not be held guilty by the law.

These courts are sure to bring a check on the land grabbers in Karnataka. In fact, the functioning of such a court has already started, and the trials are promised to be completed within six months.

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