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Chhattisgarh High Court dismisses PIL against encroachment on govt land in Rajnandgaon district

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The Chhattisgarh High Court recently dismissed a PIL alleging that government land at village Aatariya, Tehsil Khairagarh, District Rajnandgaon which is recorded as grassland in the revenue record is being encroached upon by a private respondent.

The PIL has been filed by one Har Prasad Verma. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that by manipulation of the document of revenue record, the encroachment is being made. He referred to a communication by the CEO, Zila Panchayat, Rajnandgaon dated 16/11/2021 and submitted that the khasra  over which a gothan (animal husbandry) was proposed to be constructed has been encroached upon, therefore it would lead to show that in land no open space is left. 

The counsel for the petitioner further submitted that therefore inference has to be drawn that the encroachment has been made over the said land earmarked for gothan. He further apprised the Court that the petitioner and the other villagers have made an application to the Collector on 25/10/2021 and the other revenue authority  but nothing has transpired, therefore present PIL has been filed.

The Division Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice N.K. Chandravanshi observed that the petitioner has placed reliance on a letter dated 16/11/2021 written by CEO, Zila Panchayat, Rajnandgaon purporting that land which was meant for gothan has been encroached upon. 

According to the petitioner, the same encroachment has been done by a Private Respondent . 

On the perusal of letter dated 16/11/2021, the Court was not clear who are the encroachers and even there is encroachment has been made over the government land, then proper course is left open to the petitioner to seek remedy under the Land Revenue Code which is particularly under Section 248 of the Land Revenue Code, the Bench held.

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Instead of instituting the proper proceeding before the revenue court, instant PIL is filed, therefore the Court will not go into the fact finding to make an enquiry as to who are the encroachers and to what extent the land has been encroached to usurp the power of a revenue authority which is under Section 248 of the Land Revenue Code. 

“When statutory remedy is available and open to the petitioner simply by throwing a letter to the Collector it is not expected that the revenue authority would take cognizance without there being any particular in the letter. Therefore, we are not inclined to entertain this petition at the threshold,”

-the Court observed while dismissing the PIL.

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