HC orders Re 1 per day cut in salary of CS, Home, UDD, Revenue Secretaries

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jul 2018 10:48:26


Staff Reporter,

Failure to remove illegal shrines proves costly for the top officials

Coming down heavily upon the senior officers for not removing unauthorised religious structures despite repeated directives and not formulating any time frame to remove such shrines, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Thursday directed a Re1 per day cut from the salary of Chief Secretary (CS), Secretaries of Home, Urban Development Department (UDD) and Revenue Departments, Municipal Commissioner and NIT Chairman.
A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Z A Haq, while taking officials to task, directed NIT and NMC to submit action plan within two weeks and till then directed deduction of Re 1 every day from the salary payable. This token salary cut is considered as a very serious punishment for any bureaucrat.

The Court passed the order during the hearing of the writ
petition filed by Manohar Khorgade and Dr Gajanan Zade seeking removal of such encroachments from public places including the roads stating that such structures pose obstruction to smooth flow of traffic.

The High Court expressed total dissatisfaction with the affidavits filed by respondent authorities about their failure to spell out clear cut time-frame and took them to task.
During last hearing the High Court had censured Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) over removal of illegal religious structures and directed both the agencies to submit action plan within a week.

Request of both the agencies to grant additional time to remove illegal structures within their respective territorial jurisdictions was turned down.
NMC claimed that there are more than 1,500 illegal structures within municipal limits and sought time till October to demolish them. The NIT also sought time of nearly five months to remove 250 illegal religious structures and encroachments.

Municipal Commissioner Virendra Singh and NIT Chairman Ashwin Mudgal were personally present during earlier hearing and the High Court had directed them to ensure that earlier directives issued about removal and similar orders passed by Supreme Court should be scrupulously implemented. Both the agencies had promised to remove such illegal shrines and a special drive was undertaken in last one week. There were protest by Bajrang Dal, VHP and Shiv Sena which charged civic body with targeting Hindu temples while sparing illegal structures of other faiths. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had also asked the agencies to follow Government Policy of categorising the structures and wherever possible relocate them instead of demolishing all the shrines.

During the stormy hearing held on Thursday, six intervenors charged NMC and NIT with removing religious structures not posing any hazard to traffic, without any notice and without following due legal process. The Court has granted two weeks’ time to the respondents to file affidavits on the lines indicated by the Court and answering the query raised by it.

Advocate Firdos Mirza appeared for the petitioner. AGP M K Pathan (State), Adv Sudhir Puranik (NMC), senior counsel S K Mishra (NIT) and Adv Anil Kilor (intervenors) represented the respondents.