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Nazool Land

  • 14 Feb 2024
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: Demolition Drive, Nazool Lands (Transfer) Rules, 1956, Nazool Land, Demolition Drive, Encroachment.

For Mains: Nazool Land, Law Against Demolition Drives, Judgements & Cases.

Source: IE

Why in News?

Recently, violence erupted in Haldwani city of Nainital District, Uttarakhand after the city administration conducted a Demolition Drive to remove Encroachment at the site of a mosque and madrasa, allegedly on Nazool Land.

  • As per the administration, the property where the two structures are situated is registered as the Municipal Council’s Nazool land.

What is Nazool Land?

  • About:
    • Nazool land is owned by the government but most often not directly administered as state property.
      • The state generally allots such land to any entity on lease for a fixed period, generally between 15 and 99 years.
    • In case the lease term is expiring, one can approach the authority to renew the lease by submitting a written application to the Revenue Department of the local development authority.
    • The government is free to either renew the lease or cancel it — taking back Nazool land.
      • In almost all major cities of India, Nazool land has been allotted to different entities for a variety of different purposes.
  • Emergence of Nazool Land:
    • During British rule, kings and kingdoms which opposed the British frequently revolted against them, leading to several battles between them and the British Army. Upon defeating these kings in battle, the British would often take their land away from them.
    • After India got Independence, the British vacated these lands. But with kings and royals often lacking proper documentation to prove prior ownership, these lands were marked as Nazool land — to be owned by the respective state governments.
  • Purpose of Nazool Land:
    • The government generally uses Nazool land for public purposes like building schools, hospitals, Gram Panchayat buildings, etc.
    • Several cities in India have also seen large tracts of land denoted as Nazool land used for housing societies, generally on lease.
    • While several states have brought in government orders for the purpose of framing rules for Nazool land, The Nazool Lands (Transfer) Rules, 1956 is the law mostly used for Nazool land adjudication.

What is an Encroachment?

  • About:
    • It is the unauthorised use or occupation of someone else’s property. This can occur on abandoned or unused spaces if the legal owner is not actively involved in its upkeep. It is important for property owners to be aware of the legal steps to take and their rights in such cases.
    • Urban encroachment refers to the unauthorised occupation or use of land or property within urban areas.
    • This could include illegal construction, squatting, or any other form of occupation without proper permission or legal rights.
      • Land encroachment, as defined by Section 441 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, is the act of unlawfully entering someone else’s property without permission to commit an offence, threaten possession of the property, or stay on the land uninvited.
  • Procedure for Removing Illegal Encroachments:
    • Before taking any action, the municipal authorities are usually required to issue notices to the individuals or establishments involved in illegal encroachments.
    • Courts, including the Supreme Court, have emphasised the importance of due process and have often ruled that proper notice and opportunity to be heard are essential before any demolition is carried out.
      • In the 1985 Olga Tellis case, emphasising the right to livelihood and rights of slum dwellers, SC had noted that the right to livelihood is a part of right to life.
    • If the individuals fail to respond or do not provide a satisfactory explanation, the municipal authorities may proceed with the demolition process.
    • The authorities are generally expected to act proportionally, considering the nature of the violation and the response taken to adhere to principles of natural justice.

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