A long-pending dispute over large tracts of land in Vijayashreepura in Mysuru on which many people have been claiming adverse possession rights has been put to rest by the High Court of Karnataka. After a series of litigations that included a judgement by the Supreme Court, the matter came back to the HC. The HC, noting that it cannot give any decision that goes against the SC, put an end to the dispute by dismissing petitions filed by people who have constructed houses on government land.
Vijayashreepura Kshemabivrudhi Sangha, an organisation representing house owners of the area, along with 52 of them, approached the HC against the state government and three persons of the erstwhile royal family of Mysuru. Their contention was that the government of the then king acquired 815 acres of land in 1899 and 1900. After the Mysore Kingdom joined the Indian Union, the land became the property of the Government of Karnataka.
It was also claimed that the state government wrongly paid compensation to Sardar Ramachandra Raje Urs, a member of the royal family for acquiring the land. And since the land rightfully belonged to the state, they sought that their holdings be regularised under the Karnataka Regularisation of Unauthorised Constructions in Urban Areas Act, 1991. On an earlier occasion, they had sought occupancy rights under the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, which was granted in their favour in 1990. When this was under challenge, a notification for acquisition of the same lands was issued by the government. While multiple cases about the land continued, they are said to have been regularised after paying municipal taxes.
The government, in its response, pointed out that the case had reached the SC, which had ordered that the encroachers be evicted. The SC had also considered the possibility of the evicted persons being considered for allotment after a layout was formed there. But this can be done only after they are evicted in the first place.
The HC, in its judgment, said that the persons claiming to be in unauthorised occupation, cannot at this belated stage, claim right of ownership. They were seeking to find an agreement from 1950 between the former king and the government which “is in the nature of fishing for evidence”, it said. Moreover, the SC had accepted the challenge to the acquisition process filed by the heirs of Sardar Ramachandra Raje Urs, which meant that the apex court accepted them as the owners of the land. The HC cannot, therefore, take a contrary view to that of the Supreme Court, it said and dismissed the petitions.
Credits Bangalore Mirror