The Punjab and Haryana High Court today expressed deep anguish over police officers abusing their authority to purchase property in connivance with government functionaries. The Division Bench,comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta,made it clear that every purchase by an IPS or IAS officer is not made with mala fide intent but still recommended an amendment in the rules,whereby a police officer is allowed to purchase land.
The observations were made by the Division Bench during the ongoing hearing of the Kansal land grab case. The case pertains to alleged grabbing of land located in Kansal by politicians,bureaucrats and senior police officers.
During the course of the hearing,the Chief Justice remarked: It is very surprising to see that the land is in the possession of only IAS and IPS officers. The sellers didnt find anybody else to sell the land to? It is very painful that these officers use their clout and authority to purchase land in connivance with the tehsildars.
Though the Punjab Law Officer advocate Amol Rattan Singh submitted that the police officers had declared their assets before purchasing the land,the Bench remarked: We know what happens very well. We do not come from another planet.
Advocate Singh argued that the petition has been filed on the basis of a general impression that since a police officer has purchased land,it must be through illegal means. Conceding to the law officers point,the Chief Justice said: But there is grain of truth in it as well. The problem simply cannot be ignored.
But the Bench clarified that the court cannot pass orders on basis of a hunch or suspicion. We work under certain legal limitations. There needs to be a concrete basis on which to pass orders, the Bench stated.
On the other hand,the Bench also questioned the petitioner NGO Lawyers for Human Rights International on the motive behind filing the PIL. Who are you to argue? The one whose land has been grabbed should approach the court. What is your need to rake up the issue? asked the Bench.
Responding to the query,counsel for the petitioner,advocate Navkiran Singh stated that the clout of police officers and bureaucrats is such that poor land-owners are scared to approach the court.
The Bench chastised the petitioner for attempting to take a short cut. If you have evidence,go and file a civil suit,produce the evidence, the Bench remarked.
Lawyers on strike today
Following the nationwide call given by the Bar Council of India (BCI),advocates at the Punjab and Haryana High Court will abstain from work on Friday. The BCI plans to observe February 27 as Black Day in order to express solidarity with lawyers from Chennai,who have been subjected to police atrocities. We will abstain from work on Friday in a peaceful and democratic manner, said Rupinder S Khosla,president of the High Court Bar Association. Work in the district courts will also remain suspended. As per the resolution passed by the Bar Council,we have decided to boycott work completely on Friday, said N K Nanda,president of the District Bar Association.