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Uddar Gagan Properties case: Those involved in land release not to execute order, says SC

Haryana government has ordered an inquiry into the land release and grant of licences by a retired high court judge.

india Updated: Apr 16, 2018 13:09 IST
Hitender Rao
Hitender Rao
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Uddar Gagan properties,land release,SC
The SC made the observations after amicus curiae Jaideep Gupta raised issues pertaining to the likelihood of Justice Madan being at the helm as legal remembrancer (LR) of the state government when the land release process was initiated. Justice Madan remained LR from June 3, 2002 to March 3, 2006. (Representative image )

The Supreme Court has said those who dealt with the release of nearly 400-acre land in Rohtak and grant of colonisation licences on 280 acres to real estate developer Uddar Gagan Properties during the Congress rule in Haryana will not participate in the decision to be taken up in compliance with the its May 13, 2016 judgement.

The case
  • Nearly 850 acres of land was proposed to be acquired in 2002 for residential and commercial sectors in Rohtak by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda). However, the award was passed for around 422 acres in April 2005.
  • Realtor Uddar Gagan Properties Ltd in March 2005 entered into a collaboration agreement with some farmers whose land was being acquired for the development of a colony. The builder applied for a licence to develop a colony on 280 acres.
  • The licences were granted by the town and country planning director in June 2006 and the corresponding land was released from acquisition. The licences were addressed to the owners but remitted to the builder.
  • Upholding the land acquisition process, an SC bench in May 2006 ordered that the land will vest in Huda free from all encumbrances. The SC said all land-release orders in favour of the builder in respect of land covered were quashed.

The apex court bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Rohinton F Nariman was on April 10 apprised that the Haryana government was getting an inquiry conducted by a retired high court judge, Justice RS Madan, into the legality of the actions of those responsible for illegally entertaining the applications of Uddar Gagan Properties, and release of the acquired land to it during the Congress rule.

The SC made the observations after amicus curiae Jaideep Gupta raised issues pertaining to the likelihood of Justice Madan being at the helm as legal remembrancer (LR) of the state government when the land release process was initiated. Justice Madan remained LR from June 3, 2002 to March 3, 2006.

The state government’s counsel, however, refuted this by stating that Justice Madan had demitted office when the LR office tendered an advice on the matter. The apex court observed: “It is made clear that persons who dealt with the matter leading to judgment of this court earlier may not participate in the decision to be taken up in compliance of judgment of this court.”

When asked for a comment, state town and country planning department officials said they were sure that at no point of time did Justice Madan deal with the Rohtak land release matter in the capacity of legal remembrancer.

“However, since the apex court has made this observation, we will try to understand as to whom they are referring to and ensure compliance,’’ said a department official.

An earlier inquiry conducted by Haryana IAS officer Rajan Gupta into the matter 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. Gupta’s inquiry report, which did not fix the responsibility of any individual, has not been accepted by the state government.

“The opinions of the state government’s legal advisers were not accordance with the statute and the law pronounced by the high court which eventually led to a judicial review of the government’s decision….,’’ Gupta’s inquiry report read.

The move to have an inquiry by retired judge RS Madan in the matter, instead of a CBI probe announced by the chief minister in the assembly, a major volte-face by the BJP government, has been criticised by the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

First Published: Apr 16, 2018 13:09 IST