Rashid Paul

HC directs subordinate courts not to entertain any claims of compensation

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Srinagar March 14: The J&K High Court has directed subordinate Courts not to entertain any claims of compensation in the four widening of the Banihal Ramban part of the Srinagar Jammu Highway, which has ran over time and the costs.

“All the concerned subordinate Courts within whose jurisdiction the land acquisition and compensation cases are filed, not to entertain such claims in future, including the District and Sessions Judge, Ramban”, directed a two judge bench of the court.

Hearing a Public Interest Petition by a Kashmir based civil society group, the court further directed “claims arising out of the widening of the road be it qua acquisition of land or claim of compensation or on account of any other subject, shall henceforth be brought to the notice of this Court in this PIL”.

Advocates G. N. Shaheen and M. Ashraf Wani, appearing for the petitioner informed the court that on account of non-completion of widening of the road, large number of deaths have been reported between the previous court order and up to date.

They submitted “12 deaths have taken place, not because of any negligence of the drivers, but only on account of shooting stones and landslides”. The advocates attributed it to the failure of timely completion of road widening project.

The bench said that the court cannot comment on the issue unless the response is filed by the respondents. “But we make it clear that the respondents shall not be silent spectators on the issue of deaths, which are taking place frequently on the National Highway from Jammu to Srinagar”, said the judges.

N.A. Baba, appearing counsel for National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), when asked by the court about the delay in completion of the widening of the highway, submitted that the delay has been because of the protracted land acquisition process and the pendency of the some cases in the subordinate courts at district Ramban.

As the matter was taken up for consideration, both the counsels appearing for the J&K  the NHAI sought further time to submit the compliance of order dated 10.02.2020.

Reluctantly weeks’ time was granted by the court.

The Court in February had directed the NHAI to inform it about the disputes regarding various issues arising between the departments over road widening process from Banihal to Ramban.

The court, while terming the response by the project director NHA,I as ambiguous, incomplete and vague, directed the Chairman NHAI to explore the possibility of solving all issues so that the project is completed at the earliest.

“The timeline for the project has already expired,” the court had remarked.

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