Sixty years ago, Gwal Pahari was a simple hamlet in the foothills of the Aravallis. As per the revenue record of 1939, it was collective land (mushtarkha malkan) and due to a stray entry, it was changed to shamlat land (village common land kept aside for use for common purposes) in 1955.
In 1989, it was partitioned as per order of Harbhakah Singh, then district collector in Gurgaon. Soon after the collector’s order, dispute over the land in question erupted between village panchayat and the shareholders.
The Gwal Pahari panchayat later challenged the collector’s order in the Punjab and Haryana high court, claiming that the land partition was wrong. Much later, in 2010-11, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) took over the village panchayat along with its disputed legacy.
Here, it is important to mention that various categories of land happen to be with Gwal Pahari panchayat such as river, pond, nullah, revenue roads, grazing fields, gair mumkin pahar (hills) and agricultural land. While some of these categories can be partitioned, other cannot be.
A senior revenue official said, “After Harbhakah Singh decided the partition of land, the Haryana government allotted licences to set up a private colony for the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel. Even the office of TERI came up on the same land. In 2010, the Punjab and Haryana high court directed the then district collector of Gurgaon to decide the title of the land when it was interpreted as transfer to the MCG.”
“Later, in July 2014, financial commissioner revenue (FCR) Haryana government Yudhvir Singh Malik set aside the MCG mutation. Again one-and-a-half years later, the land was mutated in MCG’s favour. It was this mutation that TL Satyaprakash, former district collector Gurgaon, termed invalid, forwarding his observation to Haryana government for legal opinion,” the official said.
Successive district collectors have reiterated that the authority to decide title of the land belongs only to civil courts.
Meanwhile, MCG has sent notices to individuals to vacate the land in Gwal Pahari.
MCG Commissioner V Umashankar said, “Under the Municipal Corporation Act, we have sent notices to people to vacate land.”
Baljit Singh, a land owner, said, “Hundreds of people have purchased land from local villagers long ago and paid stamp duty to the government. The town and country planning department of Haryana gave licences to private builders and the MCG is trying to usurp the land. We have already filed case in the high court.”