High Court slams Haryana over land transfer

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has slammed the Haryana government over the transfer of prime chunk of land in Faridabad to a man in his early forties, who had claimed to be in possession of the property for the last 50-55 years. The Court also queried Haryana on whether a CBI inquiry should be ordered in the matter and directed the state government to file a detailed affidavit on the next date of hearing.

The contentious land, measuring 51 kanals and 5 marlas, is located at Chirsi village in Faridabad. In February 17, 2011, the then Gurgaon assistant consolidation officer, Dalbir Singh, corrected an entry in the "khasra girdawari" (record of possession) on the basis of an application filed by Faridabad resident Bhupendra Singh, who had claimed to be in possession of the land for the last 50-55 years. Bhupinder was in his early forties.

The consolidation department had transferred the possessory rights of the land in favour of Singh, which was cancelled by former director general (consolidations) Dr Ashok Khemka.

Bhupendra Singh had approached the High Court challenging Khemka's orders. In its order dated, October 19, 2012, the Court had asked the Haryana government to apprise it of the powers conferred on the director general (consolidation of holdings), Haryana.

While taking up the ambiguity on powers delegated to officers of the consolidation department, the High Court on Wednesday ordered: "The affidavit contains a surprising admission on the part of Haryana, that though powers, under Section 42 of the East Punjab Holdings Act, 1948, have been delegated to the commissioner of a division, the original notification, dated 22.4.1983, delegating powers under Section 42 of the 1948 Act, to the director (consolidation ), Haryana, has neither been rescinded nor modified. It is, therefore, abundantly clear that the director (consolidation) has jurisdiction to exercise power to examine the legality or any scheme prepared during consolidation or orders passed, thereafter."

The High Court also raised eyebrows as to "how the land, which is admittedly village common land was transferred to Bishan Dass Chela (the previous owner, now deceased) and as to how, petitioner (Bhupendra Singh) came to sow wheat on the land without any apparent right or title ."

The next date of hearing has been fixed for December 17.

From the court

Acting on a petition challenging the appointments made to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission without allegedly issuing proper notification, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Punjab government. Petitioner Dinesh Chadha of Ropar had sought quashing of 25 appointments made on contract basis and 87 appointments made through outsourcing. The court will hear the case on February 5, 2013.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Punjab government to submit a copy of the special leave petition (SLP), where it had challenged the HC order that stayed a May 18, 2010 circular issued by Punjab DGP to various appointing authorities in the police department. The DGP had directed that convicted police officers, where prescribed maximum punishment is less than three years, must not be dismissed from service irrespective of the sentence awarded. The HC had stayed the operation of the circular on October 19, 2011. The court will hear the case again on December 20.

The High Court on Wednesday directed the Punjab government to specify an agency within a month, which will audit all accounts of Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Mohali, including the "secrecy fund". Petitioner H C Arora stated that the secrecy fund, at the disposal of the Board chairman, is immune from audit. He had added that secrecy fund of the chairman has risen to Rs 10.50 crore during 2010-11.

The Court on Wednesday summoned Gurgaon and Faridabad municipal commissioners and Haryana Urban Local Bodies secretary after the chief judicial magistrates of both the districts told the court that illegal construction was found near the Gurgaon arms depot and Faridabad Air Force ammunition store. No one is allowed to raise any construction within the vicinity of 900 m of the arms depots. The case will be heard on Dec 18.

The High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Haryana government, seeking an explanation on the disappearance of two girls, who had been part of the Apna Ghar shelter home. The Court, however, converted the contempt petition, filed by lawyer Utsav Bains, to a civil writ petition. Bains had held that the Haryana government had wilfully disobeyed court order, after two girls, who originally been at the Apna Ghar shelter, went missing from a Rohtak shelter home on Dec 10.

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