Mr.Prasad- A Reader- views about Akrama-Sakrama
Submitted on 2013/06/16 at 4:24 pm
The morality of Aakrama Sakrama
Is it right for the Government to legalize what is essentially illegal by levying a penalty?
A few points for the the Public and the Government to consider:
1. Going by the prevailing law of the land, Akrama Sakrama is perceived to be unfair. The amendment is seen as condoning, even encouraging, illegality. However, it is a fact that lakhs of gullible people, many of them poor and perhaps unable to afford clear properties are in a lurch as a result of either their stupidity, poverty or both. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Neither is poverty. However, it begs consideration that much of this group have bought or built on illegal land primarily to provide shelter for their families.
2. The group that is primarily guilty of grabbing or building on illegal land is the land mafia. This corrupt, black money fuelled nexus of politicians, government officials (namely BDA, BBMP, DC, sub-registrars, etc), developers and real estate agents have grabbed or facilitated the appropriation of thousands of acres of government land for commercial gains.
Between the two, the gullible and poor may be charged with a lesser crime – a crime of omission. They are also the primary victims of the the land mafia. The people that make up this mafia are guilty of a graver illegality as they have not merely looted public land to profiteer, but are equally guilty of cheating the public.
3. What would be a fair way to dispense justice? Ignorance of the law is no excuse either for the foolish or the land mafia. However, we live in a welfare state in which public good is the ultimate objective, the government would do well to take a more empathetic view of the former and provide reprieve with a penalty. The land mafia, however, need to be dealt more stringent punitive measures or penalties to ensure an absolute stop to their activities. Reclaiming or demolishing such properties will affect families more than it will affect wealthy land developers. Politicians and government authorities who have colluded should be dealt equally stringent punishment to deter such illegalities from ocurring.
4. Corruption and collusion apart, government organizations such as BDA, BBMP and DC are inefficient and plain ignorant. Ignorance is no excuse even as applied to the government. A few examples: The BDA notifies lands for formation of much needed sites for allotment to the public
but fails to mark or fence such areas, or even take possession, as required by law. The land, as per BDA’s own rules, should be acquired within 5 years of the notification, yet many such areas remain undeveloped for 30-40 years. In the meantime, the unscrupulous form layouts and sell them to the unwitting. The BBMP knowing full well that registering these areas is illegal turns a blind eye to these transactions. Essentially, one hand of the Government doesn’t know or care what the other is doing. By registering such properties, the BBMP lends a false or psuedo-legal sanctity to these illegal transactions. As we all know, the BBMP will even approve building plans in illegal revenue and BDA notified areas. This begs a question. Whose ignorance (knowing or unknowing) of the law is a greater crime? The Government’s or the public’s? And who should be punished for this?
5. Civic society and the public are correct to object or file a suit against the amendment. The condoning of illegal land grabbing sends the wrong signal, yet demolishing or displacing lakhs of people will come at a social cost. The lands so reclaimed run the risk of being grabbed again by the political/influential elite. Even if re-allotted to the public by fair means, it would mean depriving of one’s shelter to provide shelter to someone else (as an astute Hon’ble High Court Judge pointed out).
6. The moral high-ground taken by some that justice has to be ensured on the grounds that it is unfair to those like themselves who have played by the rules is questionable. Were the BDA sites on which their homes are built allotted through due and fair process? Can they honestly say that they or their parents did not own a site in Bangalore at the time of applying for a BDA site? (a pre-condition for applying). Weren’t some of the premium gated communities they live in not in the green belt before the CDP was conveniently changed to accommodate these elite communities? Were the DC conversions of these erstwhile revenue lands done without the developers greasing the DC’s palms? Ignorance of any such deeds does not absolve one of being a passive participant in the subvertion of the process. Indeed, at every level, however ethical, by ommission or commission, most of us have benefited due the flaws in the system. Those who were not rich or influential enough to get the system on their side are the poor. Justice will be found wanting if social justice is not ensured.