The Punjab government on Friday invited the Punjab and Haryana high court's ire for "complete inaction for long periods of time" regarding initiation of action as per law against revenue officers responsible for stamp duty evasion while executing sale deeds and causing loss of lakhs of rupees to the state exchequer.
Hearing a public interest litigation filed by Amritsar resident Baldev Singh Sirsa, the division bench headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, "It appears that the authorities concerned have woken up only after the petition was filed." The court, after going through the status report submitted by the state government, asked the government counsel as to how much time was required by the authorities to conclude the disciplinary proceedings against the delinquent revenue officials. To this, the counsel sought two months' time for completing the action and for submitting the report before January 17, 2014.
The court also refused to entertain the applications moved by some of the revenue officials for impleading them as party in the case. The court said, "All that this court is asking is that the officer responsible for the illegality be found and appropriate action in accordance with the law be taken within the time-bound schedule."
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.
Action taken against 13 officials, pending against 50
In the status report, Baldev Singh Sekhon, additional secretary of the revenue and rehabilitation department, submitted that during the past five years, action was initiated in 85 cases for charging less stamp duty during registration of sale deeds. Four tehsildars and nine naib tehsildars were found guilty and various punishments were imposed upon them. At the same time, the officer informed that as of now, cases of disciplinary action against 50 tehsildars and naib tehsildars were under consideration.
Revenue officers punished
Tehsildars: Saroj Rani Agarwal, Hari Singh (retd), Gurcharan Singh Brar, Rattan Singh (retd) and Viney Kumari Sharma (retd)
Naib tehsildars: Baljinderpal Kuar Brar, Harkirat Singh, Sandhoora Singh, Harbans Singh Sekhon, Raj Kumar Nanda, Ranjit Singh, Manjit Singh and Navpreet Singh.
These officers have been censured or their increments stopped or recovery of deficient amount made from them.
Disciplinary action under process against 50 officers
Patiala division: Nirmal Singh, Surinder Kumar Garg, Rupinder Singh Bal, Harminder Singh, Kamalpreet Puri, Surinder Singh, Jauhari Ram, Jaswinder Singh, Gurinder Walia, Jaswinder Singh Tiwana, Harbans Singh, Gurnam Singh and Manmohan Kumar.
Jalandhar division: Lakhwinderpal Singh, Harkaram Singh, Amar Nath, Kirandeep Singh, Mukhtiar Singh, Gurmit Singh Nadala, Lakhwinder Singh, Harkaram Singh, Kulwant Singh, Jagmohan Singh, PPS Goraya, JP Salwan, Paramjit Singh Sahota and Lakhwinder Pal.
Ferozepur division: Tej Pal Singh Bedi, Rej Singh (retd), Gurmail Singh Dhadda, Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon (retd), Harphool Singh, Madan Mohan, Pal Singh (retd) and Resham Singh (retd).
Faridkot division: Pushpinder Kaur and Harkirat Singh.
Others (posting not known): Tehsildars Sushil Kumar, Saroj Rani Aggarwal, Viney Kumari Sharma (retd), Ravinder Walia (retd), Arvind Parkash, Baljit Singh, Jaswant Rai, Rajesh Verma and naib tehsildar Maninder Singh.