Tuesday, May 15, 2012

HC deadline for Punjab, seeks response on setting up probe panel on illegal occupation of land

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 23
Setting a three-day deadline, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the State of Punjab to give its response on setting up a one-member commission of inquiry, headed by a retired High Court judge, to probe into the illegal occupation of common village land by the higher-ups in the periphery of Chandigarh.

As the matter came up for resumed hearing before the Division Bench headed by acting Chief Justice MM Kumar, an affidavit filed by Punjab Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh was placed before it.

In the affidavit, the Chief Secretary submitted: “If a commission of inquiry is appointed, it would delay the proceedings which are already going on in various courts to retrieve the public land, in our opinion appointment of commission is not required.”

Apparently not satisfied with the reply, the Bench asked the counsel for the Punjab government to seek fresh instructions on the setting up of the commission and inform the Bench on Wednesday.

The Bench, on the previous date of hearing, had made clear its opinion that only a commission could probe the matter independently. But before passing an order, the Bench had asked the state government to respond to the query why a commission should not be constituted.

The case will now come up for further hearing on April 25. The matter was brought to the court’s notice by a Nayagoan resident, Kuldip Singh.

Accusing a senior police functionary of a land-grab bid in Nayagaon, he had sought protection, while praying for the registration of an FIR and a CBI probe into the dealings.

The inquiry was entrusted to the ADGP after Justice Ranjit Singh of the High Court took cognizance of the matter. Justice Ranjit Singh had asked the ADGP to lay emphasis on Nayagaon, Zirakpur, Mohali, Kansal and Koraran areas.

The judge had added: “It would also need investigation to see what is the source of acquisition.” The state has already been admonished by the court for its failure to initiate action for getting government and forest land freed from illegal possession in Nayagaon.

The Bench had also directed the authorities to inform the court about the cases registered and action taken against the illegal occupants, besides submitting details of the action initiated to get the land freed from illegal occupants.

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