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Uddar Gagan land release case: ‘Haryana assumed discretionary powers, legal remembrancer office interpreted law wrongly’

Inquiry report, which didn’t fix responsibility of any individual, not accepted by state government

india Updated: Apr 10, 2018 12:55 IST
Hitender Rao
Hitender Rao
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Uddar Gagan land release,Haryana government,CBI

A Supreme Court-ordered inquiry by Haryana IAS officer Rajan Gupta into the legality of the actions of those responsible for illegally entertaining the applications of realtor, Uddar Gagan Properties, and release of acquired land to it during the Congress rule, had blamed the state government for assuming discretionary powers and its legal institutions like the office of the legal remembrancer (LR) supporting it by incorrectly interpreting the law.

The inquiry report, which did not fix the responsibility of any individual, has not been accepted by the state government. An undertaking in this regard was given by the state government before the apex court on March 16.

Volte face by govt

In a clear volte face, the state government last week appointed a retired high court judge, Justice RS Madan to conduct another inquiry into the matter, instead of a CBI inquiry announced by chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar in the assembly on March 13.

Gupta, who was a chief secretary-grade officer, concluded his inquiry stating: “I consider it to be a failure of the system, a deliberate attempt by the state to assume discretionary powers; and using those powers at will.” He further said it would be incorrect to presume that numerous individuals who dealt with this matter as well as scores of similar cases were not aware of the law of the land.

“Revenue officials, the town and country planning officials, district attorney and the office of the legal remembrancer (LR) should be presumed to be fully aware of the law of the land. Their actions accordingly should have been guided to the law. However, they chose to interpret the law which conferred arbitrary powers on the state to acquire or release any piece of land at will and its own discretion….. The instant cases have also been dealt with the same manner and with the same frame of mind, incorrectly supported by the legal institutions of the state including the district attorney and the office of the legal remembrance (LR). The opinions of the legal advisors of the state government were not in accordance with the statute and the law pronounced by the high court which eventually led to a judicial review of the government’s decision….,’’ the 69-page inquiry report said.

However, Gupta did not lay blame on any individual stating: “For having done so for such a long time it may be inappropriate to pick one case out of the hundreds of cases and blame individuals for it.…… specific persons out of scores of officers and officials belonging to several wings of the state government cannot be pinpointed by attributing mala fides to them. No single individual or department took the decision at their own level. They all got support from the opinions of cross sections of institutions. It was a collective decision of several organisations.”

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 12:55 IST