Now, norms for denotification

Now, norms for denotification

Now, norms for denotification

For the first time, the State government has come out with guidelines for denotification and taking possession of public and private land in Karnataka.

The action comes days after the government was rapped by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for erratic and illegal denotification of land, especially in Bangalore.
The guidelines issued by the revenue department on December 20 make it mandatory for authorities concerned to give a proper hearing to the parties likely to be affected by land denotification.

In a report tabled in the State Legislature on December 12, the CAG rapped the H D Kumaraswamy and B S Yeddyurappa governments for rampant denotification of land in Bangalore in defiance of the law between 2007 and 2011, which benefitted builders and companies. Yeddyurappa had to spend 24 days behind bars in a denotification case last year, before being released on bail.

Courts also took exception to the government doling out denotification orders indiscriminately.

The new guidelines mandate that all denotification applications, irrespective of jurisdictional departments, should be submitted to a five-member committee headed by an additional chief secretary for scrutiny and recommendation. The government cannot overrule the committee’s decisions.

Though a denotification committee was in place, lack of proper guidelines resulted in successive chief ministers bypassing the panel to pass denotification orders. The CAG has pointed out that 610.16 acres of land in Bangalore was denotified  without referring the cases to the denotification committee.

“Any previous committee set up for the same purpose will now be repealed,” the notification stated.

The guidelines bar denotification if the government has already taken possession of the land. Such a rule already existed under the acquisition laws, but  was violated by successive governments. The CAG report pointed out that 212.39 acres of land in Bangalore was denotified between 2008 and 2011, even after the government took possession of the land. The December 20 notification makes it mandatory to follow the rule.

The guidelines stated that in cases where the government was yet to take possession of land, denotification process can be initiated only after consulting the company or the cooperative house building society for whose benefit the land was acquired.

The notification also stipulated guidelines for taking possession of acquired land. On the spot preparation of “panchanama” will be made mandatory before taking possession of land. Besides, if the acquired land has standing crop or buildings, authorities concerned will have to first serve a notice to the person who cultivated the land or occupier of the building.

 It has been suggested that photographs, video and even aerial pictures of the land could be taken and preserved to curb any future alteration of the land.

Sources in the revenue department said the guidelines will apply to all authorities vested with powers to acquire land, including the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB), Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) or urban development authorities constituted under the Karnataka Urban Development Authorities Act, 1987.