Pulling up the Punjab government for delaying action to be taken against delinquent revenue officials responsible for stamp duty evasion while executing sale deeds and causing a huge loss to the state exchequer, the Punjab and Haryana high court has granted it two months' time to complete all proceedings.
The division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Arun Palli made it clear that in case the authorities failed to take complete action, the financial commissioner, revenue, would have to remain present in the court for an explanation.
Hearing the petition of Amritsar resident Baldev Singh Sirsa, the court observed that the state government had also failed in submitting the report of the two independent consultants hired by the state to probe the stamp duty evasion.
However, in his reply, Balraj Singh Sekhon, additional secretary revenue and rehabilitation department, Punjab, informed the court that in 18 cases till date, proceedings against tehsildars and naib tehsildars had been finalised, nine such cases had been marked for regular inquiry and in the remaining 23 cases, action was being taken expeditiously to finalise the matter. He also informed the court that some time was required to submit the final reports of the private consultants and the interim report submitted by them could be brought to the court, if the court so desired.
But the court refused to entertain the state government counsel's request for granting them six months more to complete the action and directed the state to ensure the compliance of court orders and submit the action-taken report before April 4.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Jatinder Jit Kaur argued that the state had taken every action after filing of the petition and the petitioner had sought action from 2001 onwards, but the authorities were only considering cases of the past two-three years. The petitioner had sought directions to get an inquiry conducted by an independent agency to check the alleged large-scale evasion of stamp duty and registration fee across Punjab.