After a reprimand by the Gujarat high court over large scale misuse of the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020, the Gujarat government has promulgated an ordinance to amend contentious provisions of the act.
The Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022 has modified the original provisions of the Act which were affecting tribal rights.
Dated January 11, the amended section reads, “Provided that ‘land’ shall not include the land in respect of which applications for grants are pending on the date of commencement of this act under the Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.”
By this crucial amendment now no action will be initiated against any tribal person under the land grabbing act if any such proposal before the concern authority is pending for the allocation of land under the ST and Traditional Forest Dwellers Act.”
In another significant amendment through the ordinance, the government has empowered an authority in the form of a special court to decide whether an application is prima facie frivolous or vexatious. If the court, in its first assessment finds the application to be frivolous, the applicant will not be allowed to be called as witness against anyone.
Key sources in the state government said, “All the key directions of the high court for amendment in the act have been included in the ordinance.”
The ordinance mentions that any person aggrieved by the order of the special court can file an appeal in the high court against any civil or criminal proceedings.
The aggrieved person will have to file an appeal in the high court within 30 days of the judgment. If the high court is satisfied, aggrieved person can file appeal in 60 days of the judgment as well, the ordinance says.
“On receipt of any such appeal, the high court shall, after giving the parties to the appeal a reasonable opportunity of being heard, make such order, as it may think fit, confirming, modifying or reversing the order appealed against or remanding the case back with such direction as it may think fit for a fresh order after taking additional evidence, if necessary,’’ the ordinance says.