In view of ‘propriety’, Judicial Tribunal stops functioning

The functioning of the Judicial Tribunal, which in its initial investigation has held that a "land grab scam" is operating in city's periphery, has come to a standstill.

Stating that since the initial deadline is over, members of the tribunal have stopped going to the office provided to them by the Punjab government in Sector 17, Chandigarh. "We have no personal interest in this investigation. Propriety demands we should resume work only if the High Court wants us to continue. It was for the High Court to decide, after our report, whether to allow us an extension or not but the case has been adjourned," said a member of the tribunal.

The members have also returned the official vehicles given by the Punjab government.

Constituted on May 29 last by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the tribunal was given an initial "deadline" of four months to complete its probe. However, it was made clear that the tribunal could seek an extension from the High Court.

Last week, the three-member tribunal had submitted an interim report highlighting several instances of land grab and the collusive participation of the government authorities in grabbing valuable land. The tribunal submitted that a detailed probe would take at least a year. The High Court adjourned the case to March 26, asking the Punjab government to respond to the tribunal's report.

The members of the tribunal are unhappy with the non-cooperative attitude of the Punjab government authorities. "Though we were given four months, practically we got only two and a half months to investigate, thanks to the hurdles posed by the state authorities. The authorities had to be requested repeatedly to submit the records. Yet, the entire records in certain cases were not provided," the member added. Another complaint is "refusal" by the state authorities to pay the dues to the members.

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