In the wake of the Adarsh society scam, the government is considering changing the rules for land allotment to cooperative housing societies, to prevent the misuse of prime land parcels.
This could result in more control by the government over how the allottees use the land, consequently allowing them fewer benefits that are currently available through occupancy rights.
The two-member judicial commission which inquired into the Adarsh scam proposed allotment of government lands be made on leasehold rights rather than on occupancy rights.
"This would enable the government to keep some kind of hold with a view to check malpractices which are often practiced in these societies in respect of lease, sale and such other transactions," the commission said.
The commission was asked to suggest ways to bring about transparency and eliminate discretion in the allotment of government land to housing societies and the admission of members.
"This is a very welcome suggestion... We are planning to give out land on leasehold rights instead of on occupancy basis," a senior official in the revenue department told dna. He said the government would make changes in the existing policy or formulate a new policy altogether.
While the land allotment policy dates back to the days of British rule, the government had tweaked it through resolutions issued in 1999 and 2007.
The official explained that the occupant class II, as the allottees are called, have rights of ownership subject to certain restrictions. "They cannot transfer or sell the land without government permission. But this is certainly a step above leasehold rights as it is halfway to actual ownership."
The judicial commission also stated that the discretion regarding grant of government land to a private society, which was a largesse, must be "judiciously used."
"All recommendations made by the judicial commission regarding the grant of land to co-operative housing societies will be examined for making appropriate changes in existing policy," the official said. He admitted this was very necessary as instances of violations by societies that have been allotted land are rife.
Last week, chief secretary JS Saharia asked senior bureaucrats to suggest ways to take the recommendations made by the commission forward.