State Govt in a fix over HC directive
THE UP Government is in a fix over a recent judgment of the High Court directing the Government ?to take immediate steps to create separate permanent revenue judicial service cadre for performance of judicial functions in courts discharging judicial functions under the UP Zamidari Abolition and Land Reforms Act-1950 as well as under the UP Consolidation Holdings Act-1953?.india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 01:35 IST
THE UP Government is in a fix over a recent judgment of the High Court directing the Government “to take immediate steps to create separate permanent revenue judicial service cadre for performance of judicial functions in courts discharging judicial functions under the UP Zamidari Abolition and Land Reforms Act-1950 as well as under the UP Consolidation Holdings Act-1953”.
The court has further directed that “the members of Judicial Revenue Cadre so created by the Government shall work as Presiding officers in the Revenue Courts as well as in the Consolidation Courts whose services will be inter-transferable and inter-changeable. Such cadre shall be created as early as possible within a period not exceeding one year and for a period of one year or till creation and appointment of members of judicial service whichever is earlier, the present arrangement shall continue to hold good.”
While the IAS Officers’ assigned Principal Secretary G Patnaik to ‘study’ the judgment, Principal Secretary, Revenue, Kapil Dev told the Hindustan Times here on Tuesday that the judgment was being examined and a decision would soon be taken. He, however, did not clarify whether the government would move the Supreme Court, would file a review petition or would comply with the judgment.
However, there is yet another view on the issue. A senior officer said that the Land Reforms Act and the Land Consolidation Act besides a few other Acts-related issues were part of the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution and as such they were beyond the purview of the High Court.
It is an open secret that corruption is rampant in cases under the Land Reforms Act, various other related Acts and disputes dealt with by various officers of the Executive, who exercise judicial powers using their offices as court. Litigants end up facing harassment.
Quoting various observations made by the Supre Court on the issue and expressing its dissatisfaction over the functioning of revenue and consolidation courts the High Court has observed that the UP Government was not able to produce even rules and regulations or timing for sittings of Revenue Courts or Consolidation Courts in another case (Writ Petition Number 63740 of 2005 Udai Narain Singh Vs. State of UP and others). Later. “Having straddled over the matter for long, the court was ultimately intimated that no fixed hours or fixed quota is envisaged for these courts.”
The court has regretted that, “I would not scruple to say that in case the Executive has not taken any steps towards reorientation of these courts by prescribing fixed hours or fixed quota for the last about 40 or 50 years as the case may be, this is indicative of the fact that the members of Executive have been wholly callous towards the plight of poor agriculturists who remain enmeshed for years in state-sponsored litigation in flagrant violation of the aims and objects for which these courts were established.”
An initiative was taken by the then UP Chief Secretary BB Lal in 1967 on the question of separation of Judiciary from the Executive but ultimately nothing concrete came out and the issue was in cold storage since then. Justice SN Srivastava delivered the judgment on December 13 last year after clubbing various cases involving land disputes.
The move to separate Judiciary from the Executive is obviously not being liked by the administrative officers as it would snatch away a lot of judicial powers from them.