Common Land (‘Commons’) cannot be part of Land Bank | Stan Swamy
‘Land Bank’, as announced by Jharkhand govt, consists of 20.56 lakh Acres Land. Out of this, 10.56 lakh acres have already been earmarked for New Companies in Jharkhand under the Momentum Jharkhand. Out of 10.56 lakh acres 8,57,624 acres (81.21%) are in the Fifth Schedule Area.
The ‘Commons’ are traditionally used by the whole village-community such as rivers/rivulets, village roads, ponds, places of religious worship, burial grounds, which have been generally treated as ‘community land’. Tragically Jharkhand govt has earmarked even these common lands into ‘Land Bank’. Here below are the details of one Block (Torpa in Khunti Dt.) :
|Common (Community) Land||No of Plots||Area (in acres)|
|Small water bodies (ponds, pits etc.)||108||1471.84|
|Sarnas (places of worship)||15||31.85|
|Masnas (burial grounds)||6||7.83|
|Hills & hillocks||272||2276.30|
|Pieces of land not used for a long time||256||719|
|Added to this is village forest land (jangal-jadi zamin)||4523 acres|
|Grand total of Common Land ear-marked for LAND BANK||12408 acres|
Why is the forcible acquisition of common land illegal?
1 ) “Gram Sabha land must be kept for the common use of villagers of the village” says the Supreme Court. (CIVIL APPEAL NO.1132 /2011 @ SLP(C) No.3109/2011, section 3 & 13). Hence it is a violation of the order of the Supreme Court.
2) ‘Land Bank’ violates Forest Rights Act 2006, Chapter II, 3(2) which prescribes that any clearance for development projects in forest area shall be subject to the condition that the same is recommended by the Gram Sabha. Consent of the respective Gram Sabhas was not sought in taking over forest (jangal-jadi) land. Hence it is illegal.
3) ‘Land Bank’ is a violation of the powers of Gram Sabha as per PESA Act, 1996 insofar as it has been set up unilaterally without any consultation with the respective Gram Sabhas.
4) ‘Land Bank’ is unconstitutional: Fifth Schedule [Article 244(1)] Section 4(2)spells out that any project in Scheduled Area must be placed before the Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) for its approval . Instead, Jharkhand govt promulgated it through an ‘executive order’.
LAND BANK therefore is unconstitutional and illegal.