Chandigarh, October 4
More than 50 years after Army man Mohinder Singh laid down his life during the India-Pakistan war, his family is still struggling for the transfer of an allotted plot’s ownership. Just about a fortnight after the matter was directed to be placed before the Punjab Chief Secretary, the state has once more sought time from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, compelling the Bench to again summon the Director, Department of Rural Development and Panchayats.
As the matter came up for resumed hearing, Director Gurpreet Singh Khaira appeared before the Bench of Justice Lisa Gill and Justice Harsh Bunger in compliance with the previous order dated September 14. He submitted that the matter was pending final consideration before the Chief Secretary on October 6. Khaira also prayed for some time to place on record the final decision. Fixing the case for October second week, the Bench ordered the Director to remain present again.
Taking cognisance of the “apathy and callousness”, the Bench had, among other things, directed the Chief Secretary to ensure “appropriate action by proper coordination between the departments concerned”. The direction on the petition filed by Sarbjit Singh through counsel CS Bagri came after the state and other respondents “chose to file a reply repudiating the limited claim” for proper conveyance of three biswas of land duly handed over to the martyr’s father in 1974, on which a house had been constructed.
The Bench then observed that the laying down of life by the petitioner’s brother while serving the nation was not denied. The land was also admittedly handed over the martyr’s father in 1974, pursuant to a gram panchayat resolution. The martyr’s father went from pillar to post for the ownership’s transfer and other benefits till his death in 2006, after which his brother pursued the matter. A resolution was yet again passed by the gram panchayat on February 5, 2016. Exhausted of the “tall empty claims”, the petitioner restricted his claim to transfer of the plot’s ownership.
The Bench asserted: “When still no action was taken, it was directed on July 7 that a decision be taken by the government/competent authority within six weeks… Last opportunity was afforded to the state on August 31 to inform the court about the decision so taken.”
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