Religion cannot be used a cover for illegal land grabbing


Religion cannot be used a cover for illegal land grabbing

Religion cannot be used a cover for illegal land grabbing

The Allahabad High Court, has issued directions to the requisite authorities stating that agricultural land was to be returned to the government, and that the illegal construction or use of it for religious purposes could not be allowed, as miscreants were using that as a way to get away with ill-gotten gains.

The Court observed that the ‘lethargic approach’ of the State Authorities, including and specifically mentioning the Collector was allowing for people to violate the law in the name of religion and this in turn was creating a chain reaction by which other people sought to illegally obtain agricultural land which rightfully belongs to the government and is held by the tenant (who cannot claim ownership of the land) at the behest of the government.

The case involved a land grab under the guise of running a wakf on the property. Noting that there was the land in question came under the U.P Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950 and there was no question of it being governed by any religious act, and therefore it was not covered under the Articles of the Constitution protecting religious activities.

Stating that even under the laws claimed by the petitioner, it had been established that he as a tenant had no ownership rights in the land which he could have given to a wakf and that the Wakf Act 2005 is only an administrative act and could not be abused to create a wakf where there was none.

The Court ended stating that this ruling was to apply to all religions across society and anywhere that the authorities came across such misuse it was their job to correct it. Passing the judgement as a Writ under Article 226, it made it clear that grabbing land under such pretexts was a criminal act.

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