Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has given three-day time to the Punjab government to respond to whether the probe pertaining to alleged illegal properties owned by higher-ups in the periphery be handed over to a one-member commission of inquiry headed by a retired High Court judge.
The High Court had put the same query to the Punjab government earlier as well. But now the High Court has set a three days’ deadline. The development took place during the resumed hearing of a PIL arising out of a suo motu notice taken by the High Court.
As the matter came up before a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice M M Kumar, an affidavit filed by Punjab Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh was placed before it on Monday.
In the affidavit, the Chief Secretary submitted: “If a commission of inquiry is appointed, it would delay the proceedings which are already going on in various courts to retrieve the public land. In our opinion appointment of commission is not required.”
Seemingly dissatisfied with the response, the bench asked the counsel for the Punjab government to seek fresh instructions on setting up of the commission and inform the bench on Wednesday.
The bench, on the previous date of hearing, had made clear its opinion that only a commission could probe the matter independently. The court had also equated the gravity of the case with that of infamous 2G spectrum scam.
But before passing an order, the bench had asked the state government to respond to the query why a commission should not be constituted. The case will now come up for further hearing on April 25.
The matter was brought to the High Court’s notice by Nayagaon resident Kuldip Singh. Accusing a senior police functionary in a land-grab bid in Nayagaon, he had sought protection, demanding registration of an FIR and a CBI probe into the dealings. The inquiry was entrusted to ADGP (retired) Chander Shekhar after Justice Ranjit Singh of the High Court had taken cognisance of the matter.
On the last date of hearing, the Punjab government had been reprimanded by the High Court for its sheer inaction on getting government and forest land vacated from illegal possession.
Documents sought on mobile towers in residential areas
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday directed the Chandigarh Administration and Central government to place on record the fresh notifications and guidelines issued by the Centre on removal of mobile towers from residential areas.
The directions were given during the resumed hearing of a bunch of petitions demanding removal of mobile towers from residential areas. A month ago, the High Court had directed the Chandigarh Administration to notify its policy on the issue of mobile towers in residential areas within a period of one month. A division bench had ordered that the UT must decide on the objections filed by the owners of mobile companies within a month and then notify its policy.
The policy would be moulded if the Chandigarh Administration decided to accept the objections filed by mobile companies. The companies had opposed the draft policy prepared by the administration in 2004 wherein the UT had decided not to allow any mobile companies to install their towers in residential areas.
The draft policy had made it clear that no mobile tower would be allowed to come up in a residential area. The policy had stated that mobile towers would be allowed to be installed only in commercial buildings which have completion certificates and their building plans. The policy read that the commercial buildings should have sewerage connections and be inspected by the Estate Office. The mobile company owners had also challenged some other provisions laid down by the UT in its draft policy.
Now PIL seeks removal of unauthorised tents in Mohali
After Chandigarh, it is time for removal of unauthorised tents in Mohali. For a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding removal of unauthorised tents pitched for security of judges and VVIPs, including bureaucrats, was filed in the High Court on Monday. A division bench issued notices on the PIL.
The petitioner, Rajinder Bains of Sector 48, has sought directions to Punjab, Greater Mohali Area Development Authority, Mohali Planning Board, Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police for the removal of tents. Directions were also sought for demolishing concrete structures in public parks, greenbelts and roadside berms being used illegally and in an unauthorised manner for the purpose of accommodating security personnel.
The petitioner added that the tents were being pitched for the security of the VVIPS, politicians, policemen and bureaucrats and were at 22 places in Mohali. In July 2009, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of a news item published in an English daily which had highlighted the menace of unauthorised tents in Chandigarh.
Nearly three years later, the Chandigarh Administration claimed removal of all security tents pitched outside the houses of bureaucrats, politicians and other higher-ups on designated green belts. The assertion on removal of tents came just about 24 hours after the High Court directed the uprooting of portable canvas shelters pitched outside the judges’ houses.
The High Court in its previous order had ruled that “no one is above law, however so high he or she may be placed. Chandigarh Administration needs to be asked to perform its functions in accordance with law”.
Comments are closed.