Look into non-eviction of 'illegal' occupants, High Court tells Punjab Principal Secretary

Eviction orders from land were passed 10 yrs ago

Look into non-eviction of 'illegal' occupants, High Court tells Punjab Principal Secretary

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, April 21

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked Principal Secretary (Punjab), Department of Rural Development and Panchayat, to personally look into a case where eviction orders from a gram panchayat land were passed more than decade ago, but illegal occupation was continuing allegedly with officers ensuring the same. The Bench also directed initiation of departmental proceedings against the erring officers/officials in case the allegations were found to be correct.

The directions by the Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Sandeep Moudgil came on a petition filed against the State of Punjab and other respondents by gram panchayat Panjoli Khurd through counsel Manish Kumar Singla. Describing the case as “peculiar”, the Bench observed the gram panchayat had approached the Court with a grievance that the possession of land was not being delivered after taking it over from certain respondents-alleged illegal occupants, despite clear orders of eviction passed against them.

The Bench also took note of Singla’s submission that this was due to the connivance of the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, Sirhind, and the Panchayat Secretary, Panjoli Khurd village in Fatehgarh Sahib.

Even warrants of possession were issued on various occasions, but without “fruitful result”. The Deputy Commissioner was also approached. He, too, passed orders for taking action by forwarding it to the lower relevant authorities, but without any result.

The Bench added it would, at the current stage, not like to comment any further except for calling upon the Principal Secretary to personally look into the matter. Keeping in view the serious allegations against “the officers involved in the illegal act in ensuring continuance of illegal possession of the private respondents”, the Principal Secretary was asked to take immediate appropriate steps if the allegations in the petition were found to be correct. “Status report in pursuance thereto be filed to this Court within a period of four weeks from today,” the Bench added.

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