Irked over government officers' attitude as an "autocrat king" taking possession of farmers' land "forcibly without any authority" for construction of a drain in Nuh of Mewat district and not bothering to pay compensation for over 30 years, the Punjab and Haryana high court slapped Rs 3 lakh fine on the Haryana government.
Rashid and 29 other farmers from Nuh had approached the high court submitting that despite many efforts made by them, the authorities have failed to pay compensation to them.
The division bench comprising justice Jasbir Singh and justice Augustine George Masih also directed the district collector, Mewat to conduct an enquiry to pin-point as to which officer(s) was responsible in not taking action in time so that the amount be recovered from the concerned officer(s).
The land acquisition collector has been directed to disburse the compensation amount to the landowners, as per their entitlement, within a period of 15 days.
The bench observed that though on request by the land owners, a notification under Section 4 of the land acquisition Act was issued on November 25, 1998, followed by a declaration under Section 6 of the Act on March 4, 1999 but notifications were allowed to lapse. Hence, the state did not pass any compensation award.
On agitation by land owners, again a notification was issued under Section 4 of the Act on August 22, 2003, followed by a declaration under Section 6 of the Act on April 2, 2004. But no further action was taken and notifications were allowed to lapse.
The bench held that facts clearly indicate that the government officials do not care for a common man. "Government officers are supposed to be very sensitive to the miseries of a common man," stated the bench.
Showing its anguish, the bench held that no compassion has been shown so far as rights of the land owners are concerned. "It is a case, where lethargic attitude of government officials is writ large," it was added.
Imposing a cost of Rs 3 lakhs, the directions were issued to the district collector, Mewat to pay Rs 10,000 each to the 30 petitioners through individual demand drafts within a period of two months. The bench also held that if any other amount remains to be paid to the petitioners that shall also be paid.