23 years gone, farmers not paid for acquisition: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Chides ‘insensitive’ Punjab

23 years gone, farmers not paid for acquisition: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Amid the agitation over the contentious farm laws when the Punjab Government is projecting itself as the champion of farmers’ rights, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the “mighty state was required to be sensitive” towards the rights of poor farmers.

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15

Amid the agitation over the contentious farm laws when the Punjab Government is projecting itself as the champion of farmers’ rights, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that the “mighty state was required to be sensitive” towards the rights of poor farmers.

The admonition came after the state was caught sitting over the land of farmers for the last 23 years “without paying a penny as compensation”.

Rapping it for resorting to dilatory tactics, Justice Ajay Kshetarpal directed the state to pay costs of Rs 8 lakh to the petitioner-farmers. Directions were also issued to the state to pay for land utilisation at the current collector’s rate for the chunk acquired within three weeks.

Justice Kshetarpal made it clear that the petitioners would be entitled to take back the possession, even if it resulted in inconvenience to the public due to closure of the road, in case of default. The state was also directed to initiate and complete the acquisition of utilised land within a year.

Justice Kshetarpal added the amount assessed by the Land Acquisition Collector would be paid within 15 days from the date of award on the completion of the acquisition. Taking up four petitions filed by Sarabjit Singh Bassi and other farmers through counsel Rakesh Gupta, Munish Gupta and Karan Gupta, Justice Kshetarpal observed notifications under Section 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act were issued in 1997-98, but were allowed to lapse due to paucity of funds.

The possession of the land in Patiala district was, however, taken away and a metalled road was laid. The petitioners made efforts to get compensation, but to no avail.

Justice Kshetarpal asserted it was clearly evident that the executive was taking “contradictory” stand. The executive’s real intention, as gathered from “irresponsible conduct, was to defer compensation payment due to the petitioners for more than two decades”, the court observed.

Slaps Rs8-lakh costs

  • The HC has slapped Rs8-lakh costs on Punjab Government
  • State told to pay farmers at the current collector rate
  • The petition has been filed by four farmers from Patiala 

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