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PROTECT PUBLIC LANDS TOLD LONG BACK IN 1998 ITSELF BY HIGH COURT

JUSTICE H Narayan of Karnataka High Court in the case of S. Siddappa And Others vs State Of Karnataka And Another Reported in ILR 1998 KAR 2757, 1998 (5) KarLJ 36 has directed in these words "Devarakadu, Urduve, Gunduthope, Tankbed, Phut Kareb Kharab Halla, date reserve, burial grounds can only be found in the revenue records. In fact, one finds it difficult even to locate a Gunduthope or a Tankbed in the villages. The gomal lands and the gunduthope is a gift to the villagers. They have been tampered with successfully from time to time by the special orders of the Deputy Commissioners unmindful of the strength of the cattle, the need of the people and the purpose for which the lands have been reserved. Though, relevant provisions are very much found in the statute book, the authorities empowered to enforce these provisions under the Land Revenue Act and Rules have failed to take special care to preserve these lands for the purpose they have been specifically assigned. The quality of the rural life can only be maintained by providing free pasturage to cattle, preserving Gokatte for providing drinking water to the cattle, protecting and preserving Gunduthope where the villagers find some shade for the people and the livestock. It is true that civilisation has entered the life of the rural people by way of roads, electricity, water, rural health and education. These are absolutely necessary for improving the quality of life of the rural people. But, the very essence of village life consists in preserving the lands reserved under Section 71 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, Rule 108-I of the Karnataka Land Revenue Rules, 1966. We hardly find a plot consisting of a few well grown trees in the villages. Those are the realms of the past. It, therefore, becomes an urgent necessity for this Court to remind all those concerned who are empowered to enforce these statutory provisions of Land Revenue Act and Rules made thereunder to act and to give effect to every word and letter of statute. The Deputy Commissioners of the districts who are directly incharge of these lands have to be reminded of their duty to protect and preserve these lands specially reserved by the Government. The newly constituted panchayaths in the Panchayath Raj Act are duty bound to protect and preserve and to raise Gunduthope and to maintain Sarkari gomals. Therefore, the Deputy Commissioners are now directed to give effect to the provisions of the Land Revenue Act and to preserve and reserve all these lands specified in the Act for the very purpose specified therein. The Deputy Commissioners shall direct the respective panchayaths to protect and raise these Gunduthopes situated in the respective villages and to further direct the Tahsildar of the Taluk to preserve the gomals for free pasturage. The Deputy Commissioners shall take action through the Tahsildar to evict persons who have been in unauthorised occupation of these reserved lands forthwith. It is needless for this Court to direct in this particular case not to regularise any land in favour of the alleged encroachers since they are Sarkari gomals which are specifically reserved for free pasturage.

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CASE LAW ON LAND LAWS

KARNATAKA LAND LAWS