CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has filed an application for direction in the pending writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the new land laws introduced in J&K by the centre after abrogating Article 370.

In the application, Tarigami submitted that the new land laws promulgated by the Central Government permits anyone from any part of the country to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir including agricultural land and that the same is illegal for the reason that the powers to make such laws are derived by the Central Government from the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 which in itself is unconstitutional.

Tarigami pointed out that the new law prohibits the sale of agricultural land to a non-agriculturist, yet authorizes the government or an officer appointed by it to “grant permission to an agriculturist to alienate the land to a non-agriculturist by way of sale, gift, exchange or mortgage or for such agreement on such conditions as may be prescribed”.

He submitted that the change of land use can’t be left at the caprice of bureaucracy more so at the lower rung of district collectors.

The new land laws also allow any non-resident, even people from outside J&K, to buy agricultural land and to use it for commercial purpose with the permission of the Government. He submitted that the restriction placed by the erstwhile law to not change the nature of the land from ‘agricultural’ to ‘non-agricultural’ and to not allow non-permanent residents to acquire the agricultural land was aimed at protecting the large swathes of farm land, that provided life blood to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, from commercialization.

This crucial aspect has not been considered while issuing the notification dated 26 October 2020 whereby new lands laws have been brought into force by the Central Government.

Tarigami stated that the new land laws will seriously change the land use pattern and will destroy the food security of the Jammu and Kashmir.

He urged the apex court to order stay on the new land lawd till the disposal of the present writ petition as amendment could not have been done using Section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 as the said statute is “unconstitutional”.