The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) on Wednesday implemented a Supreme Court judgment quashing the allotment of a plot in the Mansa Devi Complex (MDC), Sector 4, which was given to Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) chairman RN Prashar on the orders of chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
On the orders of estate officer Ashwani Sharma, HUDA officials led by junior engineer Gandhi Ram reached the site and after examination, ordered construction of a wall, which will separate Prashar's residence (house no. 191, Sector 4, MDC) from the plot. A contractor working at the site later told HT that they were strictly ordered to complete the work of building the wall on Wednesday itself.
HUDA will lock the gate and put up a board mentioning "it's a HUDA property". HT had highlighted the issue of SC order being disobeyed in two reports - '14 months on, no action by HUDA on SC judgment' (May 1) and 'HUDA yet to take over official's land' (April 10).
HC took suo motu cognisance
The Punjab and Haryana high court had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter. After noticing that landowners who had applied for enhanced land compensation started withdrawing their petitions in 2008, the court asked counsel of the Haryana government to find out the reasons.
From material placed on record, the court found that in case of RN Prashar, there was misuse of power by state and its functionaries.
Prashar had land at Bhainsa Tibba village near Mansa Devi temple. Out of the total land, compensation for 848 square metres was announced by the land acquisition collector on September 5, 2000.
The land was got released from acquisition in 2006 following chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's orders and instead of handing over possession of the released land, plot no. 190 was allotted to Prashar in exchange of the land released by HUDA.
"Finding the aforesaid action to be apparently a piece of blatant misuse of power, this court considered it appropriate to treat the issue as a public interest petition," justice MM Kumar and justice Rajesh Bindal had commented.
The high court reproduced the note by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in its judgment: "The CM has seen keeping in view the extraordinary circumstances explained by Prashar in his representations on May, 13, 2005, and September 14, 2005, the matter be processed for releasing the remaining part of land against which he will have returned the compensation amount along with the interest thereon. The chief minister has further ordered that a proposal to this effect be brought up before HUDA."
Thereafter, the case was put up in 98th meeting of HUDA as supplementary item no. 1. Hooda chaired the meeting, where the release of land was approved and also its exchange with a plot in Sector 4, MDC, which is worth crores of rupees as of now.
"The stand of the state whereby it had not been able to defend the order of release of land even though passed by the chief minister raises a question as to why such orders are passed, which are indefensible. This is for the authorities to ponder over," commented the HC order.
The court quashed the release of land and consequential allotment of plot in Sector 4, MDC, on October 28, 2010, for violations of provisions of land acquisition act.
RN Prashar filed an appeal in Supreme Court, which was dismissed on February 18, 2011. HUDA, after more than 14 months, on Wednesday obeyed the order of Supreme Court and took possession of the plot.