The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to file an affidavit as to whether it had constituted any committee to probe government land encroachments when it had already challenged the constitution of justice Kuldip Singh-headed tribunal, carrying out the same exercise, in the Supreme Court.
The directions came from the division bench headed by justice Jasbir Singh during the hearing of the case on Wednesday.
The court asked Punjab's additional advocate general, Reeta Kohli, as to whether any such committee had been constituted by the state. The court said it had come to know from the media reports that a committee had been constituted by the state government authorities.
But replying to the court's query, Kohli submitted that she had no clue of formation of any new committee and would get instructions regarding the same from the state government authorities on the next date. On this, the court adjourned the case for next hearing on December 11.
The high court had on May 29, 2012, constituted a three-member tribunal comprising justice Kuldip Singh (retd), retired Haryana district judge Baru Nath Gupta and advocate PN Aggarwal. It actually started working from November 15, 2012, and had submitted two interim reports of 65 villages on Chandigarh's periphery on March 11 and July 15, highlighting that thousands of acres of shamlat (government) land was being grabbed "right under the nose of authorities".
The tribunal had recommended a CBI probe in the case.
However, the Punjab government had challenged the high court's order of constituting the tribunal and the case is in the Supreme Court now.
Panel set up for SAS Nagar
To probe land grab cases, the state had constituted a committee for SAS Nagar district on November 21 comprising rural development and panchayats director S Karuna Raju, revenue special secretary SS Khara and district revenue officer Rohit Gupta. It has been asked to submit its "initial report" by December 31.