Thursday, May 22, 2014

Land grab in Chandigarh's perihery : High court appoints amicus curiae

May 18, 2014

In a case related to illegal possession of land by politicians, bureaucrats, senior cops and other bigwigs in the periphery of Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana high court, on Thursday, appointed senior advocate ML Sarin amicus curie (friend of the court) to assist the HC. The appointment came in the wake of the HC observation that the Punjab government failed to provide requisite information before the court. A division bench of the HC clarified that Sarin would coordinate with the government to place facts of the case before the court. 

Meanwhile, the counsel for the Punjab government informed the HC that the state has already issued a public notice for residents of 12 villages around Chandigarh to enable them to come up with representations and grievances on the land grab issue. The case has now been fixed for July 15.

On April 24, the HC had directed the Punjab government to issue a public notice so that villagers can express their grievances before court. The matter reached high court when Nayagaon resident Kuldip Singh filed a writ petition in 2007, alleging land grab by VIPs. An inquiry was conducted by then DGP-rank officer Chander Shekhar, who superannuated on November 11, 2011. Thereafter, the HC ordered constitution of a three-member tribunal, headed by Justice Kuldip Singh, a retired Supreme Court judge. Initially, the tribunal proposed to probe illegal possession of village common land/forest land by senior authorities, but later the HC clubbed all pending cases and expanded the scope to bring illegal possession of land in the state under its purview. In its interim reports, the panel headed by former SC judge, Justice Kuldip Singh pointed out widespread land grabbing in the periphery of Chandigarh.

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