The two reports of a redundant government-land-grab tribunal now are prima facie evidence against Punjab's powerful politicians, bureaucrats, and police officers.
The Punjab and Haryana high court wants the state government to appoint a senior government officer who is given collector's powers to act on the reports of the tribunal led by justice Kuldip Singh (retd).
A division bench comprising justices Hemant Gupta and Fateh Deep Singh on Monday gave the state government two weeks to examine and respond.
The collector to be appointed can exercise jurisdiction under the Punjab Village Common Lands (regulation) Act, 1961, but before issuing notices will require court's permission. The state government has to specify by February 10 which category of cases should go to the collector and which category to other forums.
The government also has to suggest the other forums for acting on the tribunal's reports. Observing that the tribunal had become redundant after justice Kuldip Singh had opted out, the court said: "As to whether the tribunal is to be constituted in respect of the unfinished work will be examined on the next hearing (February 10)."
Additional advocate general Rita Kohli submitted on behalf of the state government that its special leave petition (SLP) challenging the constituting of the tribunal would be heard in the Supreme Court on February 5, and the state government had also constituted the committees to implement the tribunal's recommendations.
The court said the state government was liable to take the tribunal's recommendations to a logical end and just constituting the committees would serve no purpose.