The Odisha Cabinet has brought the Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Ordinance 2014 in order to prevent misuse of government land. Under the new provisions, land grabbing will be termed as a criminal offence and will have a minimum jail term of seven years along with hefty fine.
There will be a special trial in all land grabbing cases related to government land. The government will set up special trial courts in this regard. It will be a non-bailable offence. However, the ordinance won’t be applicable to slum dwellers and poor people who have constructed temporary shelters/cottages or dhabas to earn their livelihood. There is a separate law for such people.
People, who have grabbed the government land for permanent use, will come under the scanner as per the new ordinance. A proposal with all provisions under the ordinance, will be sent to the President of India for consideration. The ordinance will come into affect after getting the Presidential assent.
If any people return the illegally occupied government land before the ordinance is promulgated, no action will be taken against them and they will get an amnesty, said Shri Tara Dutt, Additional Chief Secretary, who also holds the charge of Revenue department. Under the ordinance, all government land, temple land, land of government affiliated organisations and agencies, Bhudan land, Waqf board land and Zilla Parishad and Panchayat land will be prohibited for illegal use.
Not only people, who grab the government land, but also those who abet in the crime in any means, will be punished under the new ordinance. If a company/organisation is found involved in such scandals, the Directors, Managers or Secretaries can be brought to justice. A Sitting or Retired Judge of the Orissa High Court will be appointed as the Chairman of the Special Court, which will look into all government land grabbing cases.