The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday ordered disciplinary proceedings against a senior Himachal Administrative Service officer and one revenue officer as well as Rs 2 lakh as compensation to Suresh Kumar,the petitioner.
Suresh Kumar had,in his petition,complained that the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Rohru had misued his powers and ordered his arrest in 2009 under Sections 107/151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,because he had raised his voice against encroachment on 60 bighas of government land at Rohru. Handing down his 72-page judgment,perhaps first of its kind against civil officers,Justice Rajiv Sharma fixed a three-month time frame for initiating disciplinary proceedings against Sidharth Acharya,a tehsildar,and BR Kamal,a former Sub-Divisional Magistrate Rohru. Earlier,both were placed under suspension on May 23 this year following High Court orders.
The court passing severe strictures against the officers said personal liberty was infringed upon as Suresh Kumar was kept in custody for more than 72 hours and his surety bond was not accepted.
The action of the respondents caused mental torture and he (Suresh) was subjected to humiliation by his illegal detention, it said. The Court also directed the government to suspend and initiate disciplinary action against Om Prakash,the then ASI,Police Post Saraswati Nagar,Jubbal,and to conclude disciplinary proceedings within three months. In the petition filed before the Court,Suresh Kumar had alleged that he had made several complaints regarding encroachment by two residents of his village on the village common land as well as government land measuring 60 bighas.
The encroachment was removed subsequently,but he was implicated in a false case. B R Kamal ordered his arrest on July 7,2009. Suresh Kumar was arrested under Sections 107/151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However,the then tehsildar of Jubbal,Sidharth Acharya did not accept his surety bond and he was released only on July 13. The proceedings against him were later dropped.
The Court had earlier reprimanded the government for treating the issue in a casual manner .The Principal Secretary (Forest) and the Principal Secretary (Revenue) had not even filed their reports despite court orders. The court gave another weeks time to them to file their reports.