THE PUNJAB and Haryana High Court Wednesday came down heavily on Haryana Advocate General office and the state government for not filing replies in a bunch of land acquisition matters related to Kurukshetra and other districts despite grant of repeated opportunities.
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Calling it a collusion between the state government officials and the land owners, the court said it seemed that this is the reason that even many years after acquisition of land for the public purpose, possession of land had not been taken even passing of the award.
The Division Bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and Sudeep Ahluwalia, while dictating orders in the open court, imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 per petition on the Haryana government and said the cost should be recovered from the land acquisition collectors concerned.
Also, in the recent past, separate benches of the High Court had warned Haryana government as well as the Advocate General office to keep track of the court cases and file replies in time so that precious time of the court is not wasted.
The orders came during the resumed hearing of the petitions filed by the land owners under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The petitioners had submitted that their land was acquired long ago, in some cases in 1990s, but it had been over five years after passing of the award that neither the authorities concerned had taken possession of their land nor had the land owners accepted the award money. Hence, the petitioners had made a prayer that their land should be returned back to them as per the 2013 Act.
Section 24 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, says the land acquisition process shall lapse in case after passing of the award, either the possession of the land has not been taken or the compensation has not been paid to the land owners.
The court was hearing a bunch of land acquisition cases related to Kurukshetra, Sonepat, Rohtak and other districts. Now, the petitions have been adjourned for next hearing to October 26 when the state government is supposed to file its replies.