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HP HC orders disciplinary action against 4 HIMUDA officials

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

In a case of encroachment at Nahan, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has ordered disciplinary proceedings against four officials of Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA) including a Superintending Engineer for hoodwinking Court.

Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan had noted an encroachment of 3,020 sq feet vide his judgment dated 14 December, 2017. He had then ordered HIMUDA to fix responsibility of officials. The plot in question was allotted to Anil Kumar Aggarwal in 2002 at housing colony of Nahan.

After the Court’s order, a committee comprising Superintending Engineer Anjori Kapoor; Executive Engineer HIMUA Division Parwanoo RC Bhatia; Executive Engineer  HIMUDA Division Nahan Ajay Sharma; and Executive Engineer  HIMUDA Division Nahan BR Raghuvanshi concluded on 4 May that “there was no lapse in performing duty by any officer or official as timely action was taken on their part.”

The court found that the committee members just mentioned about notice dated 18 October, 2005, where the occupant was asked to vacate the encroached land measuring 47.49 sq mt. The court said that extent of encroachment was over 3,000 feet and it wouldn’t have come overnight. It also added that such a magnitude of encroachment wouldn’t have been possible without the active connivance of HIMUDA officials.

Justice Chauhan observed that the “Committee instead of assisting this Court in order to curb the menace of illegal constructions and thereby bringing about true picture before this Court have not only made every endeavour but have left no stone unturned to shield or protect such officers or officials little realising that this would only embolden the others to raise unauthorised construction.”

He added, “Thus, the Committee members are prima facie found to have deliberately disobeyed and violated with impunity the clear-cut directions passed by this Court. The Committee members have remained oblivious to the fact that the punishment to those who may be responsible, directly or indirectly, for coming up of such unauthorised constructions and encroachments shall be a deterrent and, therefore, no leniency in such matters can be shown.

A message is required to be sent that despite the position an Officer may have been holding in hierarchy, he would severely dealt with in case of direct or indirect involvement in the unauthorized constructions or encroachments of the nature with which this Court is concerned.”

Justice Chauhan ordered a fresh inquiry into the case of encroachment by CEO-cum-Secretary, HIMUDA.