Punjab and Haryana High Court raps Panchayats Department for inaction

Punjab and Haryana High Court raps Panchayats Department for inaction

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, May 11

Rapping the Punjab Rural Development and Panchayats Department for inaction and taking judicial orders and observations lightly, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has summoned the Financial Commissioner concerned. He has been asked to explain the non-compliance of an undertaking before the court in a case involving encroachment upon panchayat land.

The Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Sandeep Moudgil made it clear that strict action was required to be initiated against government functionaries responsible for not carrying out the mandate of the statute and non-compliance of judicial orders. Directions were also issued for forwarding the order’s copy to the Chief Secretary for necessary action. The directions came after the Bench was told that an undertaking on carrying out demarcation of land could not be complied with following apprehension of a law and order situation and strike by the revenue staff. Refusing to accept the explanation, the Bench asserted the authorities had more than a month to comply with the statement/undertaking. But they simply slept over the matter. “Taking care of the law and order situation was the state responsibility. If the authorities are unable to comply with the orders passed by this court, which they are in any case mandated to do under the law, immediate strict action needs to be taken against the persons responsible for not carrying out the mandate of the statute and orders of the court,” the Bench asserted.

Referring to other matters on related issues, the Bench asserted the Director, Rural Development and Panchayat, was asked to appear in person in the court to explain his conduct during the hearing of an appeal. The directions came after an affidavit detailing action against certain `panches’ and a two-member committee report in the matter was not filed and adjournment was sought.

The Bench added an affidavit filed in a civil writ petition by the Director concerned also showed the “pathetic affairs at the level at which the order mentioned in the affidavit was passed”. The then Secretary, Rahul Bhandari, had appeared before the Bench on the asking of the state counsel. “Despite the assurance to the court, such conduct and inaction shows that the department and its officers/officials are deliberately and purposely taking the observation and orders of the court lightly,” the Bench said. — TNS

Land not demarcated

The directions came after the Bench was told that an undertaking on carrying out demarcation of land could not be complied with following apprehension of a law and order situation and strike by the revenue staff

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