Chandigarh: Taking serious note of the inordinate delay being caused in payment of compensation to landowners in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has told the state government to ensure that no further delay is caused in this regard.
If the state fails to do so, a division bench has held, then the erring official will have to pay a penalty of Rs 1 lakh in each such case which reaches the High Court. The High Court has also passed strictures against Punjab for causing “unnecessary delay”.
The directions have been passed by the division bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and A N Jindal. The bench has clubbed all such petitions together — around nine — some of which pertain to Mohali.
The petitioners, landowners, in different petitions have moved the High Court alleging that delay is being caused on petty and frivolous grounds. This, the High Court observed, is “avoidable”.
The petitioners also alleged that despite conceding the fact that there is no dispute with regard to possession or ownership of the property, the landowners were being forced to approach the High Court for demanding their compensation.
“It has come to our notice that many landowners are being compelled to invoke the writ jurisdiction of the court for payment of compensation on account of some entry in the revenue record in the column of ownership or possession. We find that inaction of the state government for long period is avoidable and causes unnecessary harassment to the land owners,” reads the court order. “We make it clear that if there is unnecessary delay in release of compensation, the person responsible for making payment shall be liable to compensate for the delay personally to the extent of one lakh rupees in each case.”
The bench also took note of the repeated adjournments taken by the state counsel in the matter.
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