Brutal eviction is illegal and dictatorial
By: Aaron Keishing
LLB 4th Sem. LMS Law College, Imphal
From the orders of Revenue Department, government of Manipur issued on 23rd August 2011 and Reports of Meeting held on 22nd May 2013 by Kabo Leikai, Langol Range, Imphal and the leaders of neigbouring villages at Manipur Baptist Church (MBC) campus, I have learned that 1.497 Acres of land situated at Village No. 25 (A)-Kabo Leikai, Imphal East District have been lawfully allotted/transferred to 30 persons by virtue of a letter bearing No. 21/23/92-R (Pt) dated 14.02.2001 legally signed by the then Under Secretary (Revenue), Shri. Kumar Singh (now retired) under which Government approval for allotment of land measuring 2,247 acres to 35 persons was genuinely conveyed to the Deputy Commissioner, Imphal East. Further, on the basis of the said letter, allotment order bearing No. 1000/25-A/2006-DSLR dated 27.02.2006 is found to have been issued genuinely under the signature of Shri. S. Buddhachandra Singh, IAS Retd. Eleven communities have been living together at the Kabo Leikai in harmony since 1952 consisting mostly STs/SCs and OBCs, and received Dag No. in 1962. The Directorate Settlement & Land Records, Manipur issued/allotted “Land Patta” to the occupier for the land and the relevant fees were henceforth charged by the competent authority.
On 9th June, 2011 Under Secretary of Tourism Department, Manipur wrote a letter bearing No. 27/16/2010-TSM to the Director of Tourism Directorate informing that the Hotel Imphal situated nearby Kabo Leikai is proposed to be leased out on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, and a committee has been constituted. The committee formation order bearing No. 27/16/2010-TSM dated 4th June, 2011 was issued under the signature of KK Chhetry, Commissioner (Tourism), Government of Manipur by orders and in the name of the Governor. Revenue Department of the Manipur government orders bearing No. 21/105/2011-R dated 23rd August, 2011 mentioned that the said department had issued Notifications on 17.12.2010 under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and on 20.05.2011 under section 6 of the said Act for acquisition of 1.497 Acres of land situated at Village No. 25 (A)-Kabo Leikai, Imphal East District from 30 persons for construction of a 5-Star category Hotel.
Consequently, aforesaid convey-letter No. 21/23/92-R (Pt) dated 14.02.2001 and allotment order bearing No. 1000/25-A/2006-DSLR dated 27.02.2006 were declared as null and void by the state government saying the same had been issued without authority. Aforementioned Orders bearing No. 21/105/2011-R alleged that the allotment of land to the 35 persons was neither processed nor approved by the competent authority claiming Secretariat Revenue Department’s file No. 21/23/92-R(Pt) shows it. It is said that many of the 35 original allottees had transferred the land to other persons and there are altogether 73 persons (owners) occupying the otherwise undisputed land measuring 2.247 acres without any disturbance and interference before the Ibobi’s repressive government brutally evicted them. Out of these 73 persons, 28 including 12 original allottees are said to be included in the list of 30 persons from whom land is to be acquired. The matter was referred to the State Vigilance Commission which is directly under by the control of the Ibobi led dictatorial Congress government of Manipur on 23.06.2011. Consequently, Vigilance Commission reported that convey-letter No. 21/23/92-R (Pt) dated 14.02.2001 and allotment order bearing No. 1000/25-A/2006-DSLR dated 27.02.2006 have been issued without authority and hence to be treated as null and void.
Ironically, the same government which declared the land allotments as null and void announced award on 17.11.2011 for payment of compensation to the interested parties on production of valid and genuine documents – value of 1.497 Acres of land @ Rs 124 per sq. ft. – Rs 80,85,955.68; 30% Solatium – Rs 24,25,786.70; 12% additional charge/interest Rs 9,70,314.68 and value of standing properties of Rs 8,43,74,863,00; where grand total comes to Rs 9,58,56,920.06. Finally, government declared the convey-letter and allotment order as null and void ab-initio and execution of deed of allotment, issue of Jamabandi, or subsequent mutations / partitions are all cancelled saying no affected parties who own patta land produced valid and genuine documents.
There is no evidence and no finding from the documents (Orders & Letters) issued by the state government that the land occupiers of the Kabo Leikai were in collusion with the competent concerned authorities of the state government in acquiring their land pattas. The allotment of land to 35 persons was indeed legally processed and approved by the competent authorities; Orders and Letters of the state government are the testimonies to this fact. They did not entered into possession of the land as trespassers. They have been given the authority of possession by the competent authorities of the state government after complied with all the necessary conditions for allotment of the land in question. They could not have been illegally evicted. They had come into lawful possession and there is no evidence of collusion, forged or colourable in the transaction at any stage. They have been in possession of the land since 1952. So, how come, a legal ownership of land for the last 50 long years, issued by the competent authority of the state government became illegal, forged or colluded overnight? How can a proposed 5-star hotel annulled a lawful possession of land by the citizens and treated the convey-letter No. 21/23/92-R (Pt) dated 14.02.2001 and allotment order bearing No. 1000/25-A/2006-DSLR dated 27.02.2006 as null and void ab-initio?
Section 3 of the Public Premises (Eviction) Act, 1950 (Act No. XXVII of 1950), required a notice to be served upon them directing them to vacate the land within 15 days from the date of the service of the notice upon them before they could be evicted. This was not done and they had been evicted without complying with the mandatory provisions of Section 3 of the said Act. The eviction order was issued on 18.05.2013 (Satuday) and the last date to vacate the land was fixed as 19.05.2013 (Sunday). The forced eviction of Kabo Leikai took place on 20.05.2013 from 5 am to 1:30 pm just after one day notice of eviction. Their eviction was a high-handed act of the Government without any legal justification whatsoever, and contempt of court against the stay order of the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court dated 25.02.2013 to maintain status quo until further order. The state government which had illegally evicted them should be ordered to restore possession of the land in dispute to them. Or else, this government should be declared as lawless and dictatorial regime.