Wednesday, May 1, 2013

HC gets assurance from Punjab govt

The law is going to come down on anyone who encroaches on village Shamlat land in Punjab. And not only will the encroacher face action, the concerned officers of the Revenue and Consolidation Departments will face action too. Punjab Financial Commissioner, Revenue N.S. Kang submitted an affidavit to this effect to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday.

Responding to recommendations of the Special Tribunal on Government and Shamlat land, the Punjab government has submitted an affidavit to the Punjab and Haryana High Court pledging strict action against officers of the Revenue and Consolidation Departments who abet encroachment on shamlat land. The affadavit also stated that there was no need to conduct a CBI investigation. The recommendations are the outcome of the yet to be completed land-grab inquiry conducted by retired Supreme Court Justice Kuldeep Singh. The first installment of the inquiry report was submitted to the High Court in March this year. In it, Justice Kuldeep Singh affirmed that huge chunks of land in periphery of Chandigarh in Punjab had either been already grabbed or was being grabbed – mainly by highly influential persons including senior government officers. He recommended a CBI probe among other things.

The Punjab government in its affidavit filed on Monday stated that special officers with powers to deal with cases relating to illegal occupation, acquisition and alienation of Shamlat and other categories of land would be appointed in each district. Special attorneys to deal with land dispute cases would also be appointed in each district. The Punjab government also informed that all cases of land related frauds, identified by special tribunal would be reopened.

In a hearing in March, the High Court bench directed the Punjab Revenue Secretary to file a report as to whether or not two advocates who are members of the Enquiry Tribunal were in fact attending the Tribunal office. Justice Kuldeep Singh informed the government that it is not possible to lay down any fixed procedure or routine for the functions of members and chairman. He wrote: “Without going into arithmetic of days, I say that tribunal is functioning satisfactory towards accomplishing the work entrusted to it by High Court”. The government accordingly informed the High Court in an affidavit submitted on Monday.

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