About two dozen of the 29 RSS-affiliated socio-cultural and religious organizations could soon get back the allotment of prime land that was cancelled by the previous UPA government in 2004, on the ground that allotment norms were violated.
The allotments were made between 1998-1999 and September 2004 by the then Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA government.
A panel set up last December, to review if the UPA government’s decision to cancel the allotment was justified, is set to tell the Modi government that the previous government had unfairly targeted the organizations. It will recommend that except for two or three cases, allotment were justified in the remaining cases and hence the cancellation orders be withdrawn.
The panel comprising retired IAS officers LK Joshi and former Delhi chief secretary R Narayanaswami is expected to submit its report to the urban development (UD) ministry on Tuesday. Narayanaswami replaced former UD secretary M Ramachandran after the latter recused himself from the panel last month on personal ground.
A government source told HT that the panel had supported the cancellation of the allotment in about three cases where it found that norms were not followed while allotting the land. Refusing to divulge further details, the source said, “Let the report first be formally submitted.”
Another government source said that based on the committee’s recommendation, the UD ministry will approach the High Court -- where a case is pending on the issue – and seek revocation of the cancellation in all such cases where it was found to be unjustified.
A majority of the allottees whose land was cancelled have moved court. “The ministry will have to approach the court for taking a final call once the committee submits its report,” the source added.
In 2004, the then UPA government cancelled the allotments based on recommendations by a one-member inquiry committee headed by retired IAS officer Yogesh Chandra. The Chandra committee examined some 100 cases of land allotted to various organisations.
In 32 cases, the committee observed the allotments were made “without due regard to the stipulated procedure”. The UPA government finally cancelled 29 such allotments including those made to organizations such as Mukherjee Smiriti Nyas, Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Dharam Yatra Mahasangh, Akhil Bhartiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram among others.
Soon after the NDA came to power in May 2014, many of the organisations whose allotments were cancelled approached urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu to review their case.
The ministry sought the opinion of the Attorney General last August on whether it can review, case-by-case, the decision taken by the previous government. Soon after it got the go ahead from the AG, a two member committee was set up.
Government sources said though the allotments were cancelled, in some cases the allottees held on to the land and built makeshift offices there.