VOJ inquiry full of lacunae; Court orders re-investigation
Srinagar, Sept 29: The State High Court has directed the Government to take over the control of State land measuring 48 Kanals at village Janglote, Kathua illegally occupied by Raj Daluja and dismantle any structure on it.
Hearing the appeal filed by the State Government for setting aside of orders passed by Financial Commissioner and Writ Court, the division bench allowed the appeal filed by the State Government about the land in question and directed for taking over the control on the said land.
“…Consequently, the judgment and order of Writ Court dated 04.09.2013 and that of the Financial Commissioner dated 25.05.2004 are hereby set aside and quashed. As a result of this, the order passed by the Collector/Deputy Commissi-oner, Kathua dated 09.07.2003 is upheld.
State, is directed to forthwith take control of the land-in-question, secure it by required means and dismantle/raze any unauthorized construction over it, thereby restoring the original position of land-in-question as it was before being allotted”, Division Bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan and Justice Sanjeev Kumar ordered.
As revealed by the records, one Raj Daluja, of Trikuta Nagar, Jammu, Chairman, J&K Educational Society started construction of a school building on the land resulting into registration of FIR No.21/2003 u/s 5(2) P.C Act read with section 161/120-B RPC came to be registered in Police Station, Vigilance Organization Jammu, against the then Revenue Officers, Ashok Kumar Gupta, Tehsildar Kathua, SK Sharma, Tehsildar Agrarian Reforms, Dewan Singh Naib Tehsildar, Des Raj, Girdawar Circle IV and Raghuwinder Singh, Patwari Halqa, Janglote, with regard to illegal allotment of 48 kanals of State land after hatching a criminal conspiracy by these accused-officials.
The Deputy Commissioner after these facts directed maintaining of status quo on spot with further direction to Tehsildar Kathua and SHO concerned to implement the order on spot till legal status of the allotment of land-in-question is determined by the competent authority.
However, the order of DC came to be challenged before the Financial Commissioner who set aside the order of status quo resulting into filing of writ petition against the order of FC and the writ court held the order of FC valid which compelled the State to challenge these order for restoration of the big chunk of State land.
DB after hearing the parties and perusal of record said the Financial Commissioner was not justified in setting aside the order of Deputy Commissioner, Kathua and has exceeded its limits by disposing of the appeals, if any, filed before the Deputy Commissioner, that too merely on conjecture.
DB said the Writ Court too has erred in law while dismissing the writ petition filed by the State and holding the order issued by the Financial Commissioner to be legally correct.
Court said procedural laws cannot be permitted to assume the shape of phantom, who will devour the angel of justice and are made to ensure that justice is done fairly and objectively.
Court further ordered that the appeals pending before the Collector/ Deputy Commissioner, Kathua are revived, and DC has been directed to decide the same on merits and strictly in accordance with the provisions of law on the subject, without being influenced by any observations made herein, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of this judgment against proper receipt.
DC has been further directed to inform the Registrar (Judicial) of the Court in a sealed cover by submitting a compliance report as regards the direction issued by the Court to take possession of the land-in-question.
Court with regard to inquiry conducted by the Vigilance Organization, Jammu, said it is full of lacunas. “It also emerges from the record that the investigating officers of the Vigilance Organization have failed to perform their duties honestly and had not dealt with this case in the manner in which it ought to have been”, DB recorded.
Court put the question on the inquiry of VOJ because the actual beneficiaries of the said allotment, i.e have not been arrayed as co-accused in this case despite the fact that all acts of omission and commission have been done directly or indirectly to give them the benefit.
“Therefore, it is hereby directed that the Vigilance Organization shall re-investigate this matter and conclude the same within a period of two months from the date of receipt of this judgment and after completing the investigation, shall file a fresh Challan before the competent Court of Law in this regard in the light of directions given, thereby making the beneficiaries of land-in-question as co-accused”, Court further directed.
Registrar (Judicial) has been directed to forthwith send copies of the judgment to Chief Secretary of the State and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Vigilance Organization, Jammu.