The Patna high court on Monday directed top Bihar officials to appear in person and explain how a public road was constructed on 81 decimals (.81 acres) of private land registered in the name of former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram, at Chandwa near Ara in Bhojpur district of south-central Bihar.
The summons were issued in response to a writ application filed by Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, daughter of the late deputy PM, through the power of attorney holder of the land, Mukti Nath Tiwari.
While hearing the petition, justice JN Singh directed the principal secretaries of the panchayati raj and rural works departments to appear in the court in person on May 6 to show how the road came to be constructed on raiyati land, now owned by the Lok Sabha speaker, without acquiring it.
The petitioner has pleaded for a court’s direction to demolish or remove the road on the land, purchased by late Jagjivan Ram on December 13, 1961 though a registered sale deed.
The petitioner’s counsel showed the court rent receipts issued in the name of late Jagjivan Ram and Ara Sadar circle officer’s confirmation, in response to an RTI query, that it was owned by Ram.
The counsel told the court that the Ara municipal corporation had constructed the road on the raiyati land, without acquiring it or seeking the owner’s permission or issuing any notice, which was arbitrarily and illegal.
Justice Singh also asked the state government to apprise the court of its policy for acquiring private land for road construction.