The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab Chief Secretary as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against her for making a wrong submission before the court in a matter pertaining to “preferential location charges” by the Punjab government.
The Bench has issued the order hearing the ongoing proceedings of a matter, wherein petitioners are seeking parity with the persons similarly placed in ECO City-I. The petitioners who are subsequent purchasers of plot, which was allotted in favour of land loosers pursuant to Land Pooling Scheme, 2013, have challenged the decision of the Punjab government in imposing preferential location charges on the persons, who have acquired title to the plots from original allottees/land loosers. The challenge to decision of the state is on the grounds that the state is taking inconsistent stand with reference to collections of such charges in singling out the petitioners, who are subsequent purchasers of the plot allotted in favour of the land loosers in Sector 89 of Mohali. The petitioners brought to the notice of HC that a decision was taken by the state with reference to imposing of similar charges with regard to the plots purchased from the original owners in Eco City and Aerocity, Mohali.
The state filed a reply mentioning that a policy decision has been taken to the effect that preferred location charges are not to be paid by the allottees under the land pooling policies or subsequent proceedings in respect thereof. This policy would also be applicable to the petitioners. The matter was thus disposed of by the HC.
However, the petitioner has again filed an application before the HC, which the HC allowed observing, “We allow this application in CM No. 8125 of 2020 filed in CWP No.15531 of 2019 and take on record the said affidavit and would observe that the contents therein are contrary to the contents of the affidavit filed by Ms. Vini Mahajan, the Chief Secretary of Punjab thereby clearly indicating that there is an attempt on the part of the Chief Secretary to mislead this Court.”
Thus, in the order passed on September 23, 2020, the division bench of Justices S N Satyanarayana and Justice Archana Puri has sought an explanation from Chief Secretary within one week. The matter is now scheduled for hearing on October 8, 2020.
The Bench observed that in the affidavit, “she should also explain as to why the present set of purchasers or status of the present set of purchasers is treated different from that of the persons similarly placed with reference to ECO City-I which is not specifically explained by the Chief Secretary in her affidavit despite there being an order to that extent. Therefore, we make it clear that this should also be clarified”.
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