HC ISSUES DIRECTIONS SEEKING PROPOSAL INDICATING TIMEFRAME FOR LAND COMPENSATION AND ACQUISITION
GANGTOK, 04 July: The Division bench of the High Court of Sikkim comprising of Chief Justice Permod Kohli and Justice SP Wangdi has taken a very serious view of the army occupation of land in North Sikkim in light of the fact that there has not been any compensation paid nor any land acquisition process completed. In fact, it was revealed during the course of the hearing that there is no proposal for land acquisition even after so many years of occupation.
The army has been in occupation of the land in North Sikkim for several years without having acquired it and without compensating the land owners. On enquiry by the court, it was revealed that there does not appear to have been any requisition either made for the land by the army or any proposal with the DC North office for land acquisition. On being summoned by the court the Defence Estate Officer, Siliguri and also the DC, North were present for the hearing on 03 July.
The division bench noted “… the fact remains that the land of the private persons belonging to these remote areas has been forcefully occupied by the Army and other government agencies without payment of any compensation or rent which is a serious matter”. The High Court has now issued directions to all the concerned respondents to submit their proposal or plan specifying the time frame within which they will pay the rental compensation to the owners of the occupied land for the past occupation and also to indicate the timeframe for initiating the process of acquisition wherever the authorities intend to acquire the land. This is to be filed as an affidavit with the court within four weeks.
It was also observed that the earlier order passed by the court on 01 June, 2012 had not been complied with wherein the respondents had been directed to provide necessary details including the records pertaining to the acquisition of the lands under occupation of the army. Moreover there is no formal proposal by the Defence Estate Officer for land acquisition.
The lands at Thombu, Yakthang and other areas have been occupied by the army on the basis of No Objection Certificates obtained from the land owners. A plot of 2.38 acres at Thombu and land measuring 860.47 acres in other areas are under army occupation.