The Punjab and Haryana high court has granted last opportunity to the state government as well as the Patiala municipal corporation to formulate a concrete scheme/policy by April 10 for regulating the residential and commercial establishments in Patiala.
The directions came from a division bench on Thursday on a bunch of petitions filed by Rameshwar Dass and others questioning the municipal corporation's action of sealing various commercial establishments running from residential areas in August last year. Corporation's action had affected various nursing homes/clinics functioning from the residential areas and also practicing advocates and chartered accountants. At the same time, the high court had also directed the corporation to seal the commercial establishments running against the rules.
The court directed the authorities concerned to formulate the scheme within a month and put it before the corporation; thereafter invite objections from public within 30 days time and then finalise the scheme within two weeks' period. The state government was ordered to place the final policy/scheme in the court on the next date of hearing on April 10.
Before this, during the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, state government counsel Rita Kohli and advocate Rupinder Singh Khosla appearing for the municipal corporation informed the court that the state government had no powers to finalise the policy until municipal corporation general house passed the draft policy.
However, the bench, after various objections being raised by counsels appearing for the private parties against state's stand, stated, "we are just waiting for their (state) decision to our various orders passed in the past and then we'll pass our orders." The bench also said that though the state government was framing the suitable policy to "protect bigwigs" but the court has to see the public interest.
During the hearing, Patiala municipal corporation filed an affidavit stating that it would require a minimum time of six months for conducting the survey and thereafter the report will be presented before the corporation after which objections would be invited on the policy.
However, the bench said, "In our view, the course adopted by the government or the corporation is totally arbitrary." The bench made it clear that there was nothing which stops the state government to invoke its statutory powers and issue suitable binding directions to the corporation to formulate or modify the policy.