HC issues contempt notice against Revenue Secretary

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Jan 2018 09:25:55


Staff Reporter,

Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has issued contempt notice against Principal Secretary of Revenue Department Manukumar Srivastava on a plea filed by a land owner alleging total inaction by authorities despite a clear order by the High Court on November 15, 2016. The High Court had directed the respondent State Government to take decision on the question of issuance of notification on the acquisition of land in question within a period of six months and file an affidavit in this Court. The entire controversy pertains to land in Yavatmal.

The petitioners Devendrakumar Ganpatlal Chamedia and others are the owners of 29 acres and 8 gunthas of land out of Survey No.51 situated at Yavatmal.

Out of this entire land, some land was acquired by the State Government under the Land Acquisition Act and some portion of the land was declared as surplus under the Maharashtra Agricultural Lands (Ceiling on Holdings) Act. Petitioner claimed restoration of 7 hectors and 12R of land out of Survey No. 51and had filed filing an application under Section 85 of the Maharashtra Tenancy and Agricultural Lands (Vidarbha Region) Act. This application was rejected by the Tahsildar on the ground that there was encroachment upon it by 258 persons.

The respondent-authorities claimed that the land was covered by the notification published on 28.07.1988 issued under Section 4 of the Maharashtra Slum Area (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971.

The High Court in its November 15 order observed that the ownership of the petitioners over the land in question was not disputed. The notification under Section 4 of the Slums Act published on 28.07.1988 was set aside and in view of the decision of High Court on 10.09.1997 in Writ Petition No. 1822 of 1996, the respondents were required to take decision as to the acquisition of the land in question, which would require some time.

The High Court had directed State Government to take this decision within six months.
Justice Z A Haq while hearing this matter noted with dismay that the matter was adjourned from time to time on the request made by State Government and noted that it was listed on June 7, 2017, August 23, 2017, September 12, 2017 and again on October 11.

The State sought more time to file reply after which the High Court decided to issue contempt notice to Revenue Secretary observing that November 15, 2016 order is being wilfully disobeyed.

If the reply affidavit is not filed within four weeks, the High Court has directed Manukumar Srivastava, Principal Secretary, Revenue and Forest Department, to remain personally present before the court on February 24.