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Punjab and Haryana High Court: Train officials under consolidation & lands Act

Sets two-month deadline

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Train officials under consolidation & lands Act


Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, April 23

It is back to learning for the authorities contemplated under the provisions of the Consolidation Act and Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act in Punjab and Haryana. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the Additional Chief Secretaries, Revenue, to ensure the imparting of training to the authorities contemplated under Section 42 of the Consolidation Act.

The Bench of Justices Sureshwar Thakur and Lalit Batra also directed the training of collectors and the appellate authorities contemplated under the Punjab Village Common Lands (Regulation) Act. The Bench has set a two-month deadline.

The Bench was hearing two petitions against Haryana and other respondents filed through senior counsel Vijay Kumar Jindal, and advocates Adarsh Jain, Akshay Jindal and Pankaj Gautam. It was told that consolidation operations for the land in question commenced following a notification in 2000. The draft consolidation scheme was published in 2008. It was sanctioned/accepted in 2010 after hearing objections.

The process of repartitioning was completed in March 2011 and the possession in terms of the repartitioning scheme was delivered in June 2011 to the estate holders concerned. Subsequently, a complaint was submitted to the Director-General of Consolidation of Holdings, alleging that 150 acres of panchayat land, valued at Rs 300 crore, had been transferred to private parties.

Exercising powers under Section 42 of the Consolidation Act, the Director-General ordered the revaluation of land. Panchayat land’s transfer to private parties was also set aside.

After a round of litigation, Director-Consolidation remanded the matter to the consolidation officer concerned. The Bench observed the delivery of possessions was made only after the updation of records in terms of Section 22 of the Consolidation Act. After updation, exercisable jurisdiction was not vested in Director-Consolidation and was not within the domain of Section 42.

The Bench added that an earlier Full Bench judgment in Parkash Singh’s case made it clear that jurisdiction under Section 42 was limited to issues such as correction of arithmetical or clerical errors. As such, the exercise of jurisdiction over the controversy by the Director on a motion under Section 42 was vitiated.

The Bench added the authorities envisaged under Section 42 were required to adhere to the mandate of law encapsulated in Parkash Singh’s case. It appeared that non-compliance arose either because of “sheer lack of knowledge or ill training of the authorities contemplated under Section 42”.

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