Dismissing a contempt petition against SDM Nazuk Kumar, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Wednesday said that although the principle of propriety required that authorities await the outcome of the stay application, the same would not amount to commission of contempt.
The observation was made in the order passed in a contempt petition filed by Dhanas and Dadu Majra land owners in a matter relating to land acquisition, against the recent pronouncement of land acquisition award by the authorities.
The petitioners in the application alleged that the authorities, by pronouncing the award, had violated an interim order passed by a division bench on May 18.
The May 18 order was passed in an application seeking stay on the process of land acquisition.
However, Justice Sanjay Kumar said, the May 18 order reflects that a notice was issued to the Chandigarh Administration, which was accepted by a counsel who sought time to file a reply.
“Significantly, no order was passed to the effect that the land acquisition award should not be pronounced, in terms of the prayer made in Civil Miscellaneous Application,” read the order.
Observing that there must be a disobedience to a “positive mandate or direction” under the provisions of the contempt law, the court further said, the authorities in the order passed on May 18 were not “interdicted” from proceeding further in the matter.
However, the court also noted that since the notice had been issued to the Chandigarh Administration on the stay application, the principle of propriety required that respondents await the outcome of the stay application.
“All the more so, as the matter was pending before a division bench of this court.
However, the breach of propriety by the respondent would not amount to commission of contempt,” it noted, while terming the contempt case as misconceived.
The matter pertains to the acquisition of land for construction of a road to connect Dakshin Marg in Chandigarh with Punjab boundary – PR-4 road.
The land owners have been seeking higher compensation for the land acquired for the purpose.
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