Table of Contents
Cases of mafia grabbing land in Gujarat may come down significantly, with the state assembly passing the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2020, on September 24. The state has been pursuing notorious land mafia gangs since years, setting up many Special Investigation Teams (SITs) from time to time, to look into land grab and encroachments. However, the cases have only increased over the years. Here is a look at what the Bill tries to change in Gujarat.
What is land mafia?
Before we attempt to understand what the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2020 entails, it is important to know what a land mafia is and how it operates. Persons who may be operating individually or may be part of larger groups, use force or fraud to usurp land that belongs to the government, authorities, religious-cultural institutions or even private individuals.
Across Gujarat, cases of encroachment of government land became rampant. Cities like Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Sanand, have reported a number of such cases in the past. The judiciary has also pulled up the law enforcement for the loopholes.
One of the main reasons for land-grabbing in Gujarat, was the rise in real estate prices. Gujarat’s economic development over a decade, led to a rise in capital values across its cities, making land an attractive asset for many. At times, the land mafia would tie up with unscrupulous real estate builders or the notaries, or even former revenue officials, to transact in large parcels of land. In a few cases that emerged recently, sale deeds were registered using fake power of attorney and fake documents.
What are the provisions of the Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill?
As the assembly is not in session, the government will bring an ordinance, so as to render all provisions operational with immediate effect. Here are some of the salient features of this Bill:
- Imprisonment of 10-14 years for those found guilty.
- A penalty up to the jantri value of the property may be levied.
- The proof of innocence or the burden of proving that there was no land encroachment, will be on the accused.
- The investigation will be carried out by officers of deputy superintendent of police rank and above.
- Persons holding the rank of assistant commissioner of police and above, shall investigate cases in areas under the commissioner of police.
- Special courts will undertake the speedy trial of cases within six months.
Moreover, the judges who will preside over such cases will be appointed by the state government, in consultation with the chief justice of the Gujarat High Court, for a term of three years.
Check out land plots for sale in Ahmedabad
What if a company operated a land mafia?
If a company is found guilty in a land grabbing case, every employee will be held accountable and will be prosecuted accordingly.
When was the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill passed?
The Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill was passed on September 24, 2020.
What is jantri value of property?
Jantri rate is the minimum value of land or other type of property. The revenue department of the Gujarat government decides this price.
What is the penalty for land grabbing in Gujarat?
The Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill proposes a prison sentence of 10-14 years and/or penalty amounting to the property’s jantri value.