Why Were Tenants Booked For Land Grabbing?, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

September 22, 2023

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Thursday directed the Ahmedabad district collector to file an affidavit and sought her explanation on how a committee headed by her endorsed an FIR under the Land Grabbing Act at the behest of a landowner against tenants who are in possession of the land since 1975.

Commenting that the invocation of the provisions of land grabbing law against the tenants appears to be “misuse” of the law, the bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee stayed the proceedings on an FIR filed by Narol police against the tenants.

The bench is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the provisions of the 2020 anti-land grabbing law.

It, however, decided not to include this case in the bunch, but instead sought a personal affidavit from the district collector.

The petition was filed by one Ashwin Gajjar, who along with three other persons, was booked for land grabbing on a complaint made by the landowner, Kalpesh Patel.

The committee to decide the case of land grabbing directed that an FIR be registered. Gajjar was booked and jailed for seven days before he got bail. He filed a civil suit after his release and a civil court has ordered a status quo on possession of the property.

Before the high court, Gajjar’s advocate Megha Jani submitted that the land was rented out by Patel’s grandfather Ramabhai in March 1975 by making a rent agreement which was renewable.

Since then, Gajjar and his family have been in possession of the land on which they run Bhawani Timber Mart & Sawmill. The present owner wanted to take back possession of his property, and so he submitted a complaint to the committee, alleging that the tenants were not vacating the land.

The petitioner and his partner replied to the notice issued by a deputy collector by explaining the situation; they said that the rent agreement was in place and the complainant was also receiving his rent.

However, the committee ignored the explanation with regard to possession of the land as tenants and decided to lodge an FIR. The lawyer argued that the petitioner was a tenant and not a land grabber.

  • Published On Sep 22, 2023 at 12:00 PM IST

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