Court wrath: Delay in ex gratia leaves Patiala DC red-faced

  • Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Aug 11, 2016 11:39 IST
Patiala DC’s official vehicle and the office building was attached by a court for not complying with its order. (Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

Due to prolonged delay in paying ex gratia and other benefits to the legal heirs of a deceased government employee, Jethu Ram, the district administration faced some embarrassing moments on Wednesday when court bailiffs turned up to attach the deputy commissioner’s office.

A local court had attached the building of DC office on August 6.

Deputy commissioner Ramvir Singh, however, managed to avert the lockout of his office by assuring the district and sessions judge that the court order will be complied with at the earliest.

Jethu’s legal heirs Sarda Ram (brother) and Baro (sister) died during the pendency of the case that stretched over seven years.

Jethu Ram was a gardener with the Punjab water supply and sanitation department and had died in 2009. His siblings, Sarda and Baro, applied for government benefits, including ex gratia, as Jethu was unmarried.

The court of civil judge Sukhwinder Singh, passed the attachment order for non-release of Rs 1.15 lakh to the petitioners. The court fixed nearly 20 dates for executing the orders of additional session judge, which the administration failed to comply with. Sarda died in 2014 and Baro died in 2015.

“The callous attitude of judgment debtors (DC and executive engineer of Punjab water supply) is causing miseries to the decree holder and in the opinion of court, the present execution petition cannot be satisfied except resorting to coercive methods. Hence in this eventuality, the court is left with no option except to attach the property,” read the court order. The court attached the DC office building, official vehicle of the deputy commissioner and office building of the sub-divisional engineer of water supply and santiation department.

Before this, in October 2015, the court had attached office of executive engineer, water supply and sanitation, along with office articles— including 100 tables, 250 chairs, 20 ACs, 50 fans, 30 computers, 10 printers, 100 almirahs. But, the department failed to clear payment, said Puneet Sharma, the counsel of the petitioners.

“It’s welcome order from the court. It’s shameful that two people died during the pendency of case in wait for benefits they were entitled to,” said advocate Brijinder Singh Sodhi, a human rights lawyer.

Meanwhile, DC Ramvir Singh said he has the officials to clear the payment without delay. He said that he will find out why the meagre payment was delayed.

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