Chandigarh, April 7, 2022: While dealing with a batch of petitions for allotment of lands to members of displaced Kashmiri Pandits who bought plots in Haryana after escaping the situation posed by terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990-91, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana government to come up with a “concrete policy” on rehabilitation of the petitioners who suffered enough loss, earlier due to terrorist activities and then at the hands of the state government.
The Division Bench of Justices Amol Rattan Singh and Lalit Batra held,
“Consequently, with the draw of lots to continue by including all those petitioners who are genuinely found to be displaced Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu & Kashmir due to terrorism, the allotment after draw of lots shall not be finalized till the Government of Haryana comes up with a concrete policy keeping in view the observations made hereinabove, in a very sympathetic manner.”
The Bench also drew an analogy with how the Central Government rehabilitated persons displaced from Pakistan in 1947, in different districts of the then composite Punjab with property allotted to them in terms of the property left behind by them in Pakistan, on verified claims.
Here, in this also, the Bench called upon the Government to,
“ (…) look into the issue from that angle to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandits who were displaced from their ancestral homes in Kashmir due to terrorism.”
The Court was called upon to decide the issue of allotment of residential plots to a particular community, i.e., the Kashmiri Pandits who were unfortunately displaced from their homes due to terrorism in the years 1990-91, in Jammu & Kashmir. For 30 years, the matter of allotting plots to them was hanging fire one way or the other for some reason or the other.
The petitioners in these cases also sought a stay on the draw of lots which was to be held on Tuesday (April 6, 2022).
In this factual background, the Court opined that the draw of lots to be conducted (on Tuesday) could go on, but with all persons who were genuinely found to be displaced persons from Jammu & Kashmir due to terrorism, to be included in the draw of lots. The Court also added that the allotment of plots was not to be finalized and with the Government was directed to come up with a concrete policy and also to furnish an explanation for why it was linking mutation of plots purchased by the unfortunately displaced persons in Bahadurgarh (Haryana) on earlier dates to allotment of other plots in lieu thereof.
The plots that they originally purchased (by the Kashmiri Pandits) were stated to be acquired but subsequently were agreed to be released subject to their title being transferred to the HSVP by the purchasers.
Further, the Court requested the Government of Haryana to have a relook at the entire issue, looking at the plight of those who genuinely suffered the loss of their homes at the hands of terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir more than 30 years ago and were continuing to suffer on account of no clear title to their homes.
Thus, the Court ordered the draw of lots to continue by including all those petitioners who were genuinely found to be displaced Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu & Kashmir due to terrorism, however, the Court ordered the allotment after the draw of lots not to be finalized till the Government of Haryana come up with a concrete policy keeping in view the observations made above, in a very “sympathetic manner.”
Also, upon a clarification being ‘voiced’ by all the counsels appearing for the respondents, the Court clarified those who would be included in the draw of lots would be all such persons who “applied for being so included” and were “verified to be genuinely displaced Kashmiri Pandits”.
Now, as regards the policy to be drawn up for the displaced Kashmiri Pandits who came to Haryana, the Court held that it would be taken as a wholesome policy.