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HC imposes penalty of Rs 35K on Collector Land Acquisition Shopian

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Srinagar: Hearing a writ petition and connected petitions by the land holders of district Shopian, J&K High Court today imposed a penalty of rupees 35000 on Collector Land Acquisition of the district, for failing to comply with its earlier orders, and directed him to personally appear before the court.

Hearing a writ petition and connected petitions by the land holders of village Safnagri of the district, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal directed the concerned officer to pay a penalty of Rs 35000 by or before 20th of the next month.

The petition of the land owners, whose land had been notified for state use, is pending before the court since 2013. The court expressed its anguish at the official behavior “for failing to file their respective counter affidavits despite several opportunities in the past”.

According to the court the respondent No. 8- Collector Land Acquisition, District Shopian, was directed earlier to file objections to the writ petition by the villagers.

“But he has not filed the same despite imposition of cost of Rs. 10,000/- vide order dated 02.06.2022”, the bench said, adding, “The collector was also directed to remain present before the Court but he has not cared to appear nor has he deposited the costs.”

M A Chashoo, the additional advocate general (AAG), who appeared in the matter for the Union Territory prayed for some time to comply with the directions. The court granted him week’s time to file the objections and directed him “to ensure presence of the Collector Land Acquisition, District Shopian, and to deposit the cost of Rs.10,000 imposed earlier”.

The judges held that since it is almost a decade old matter they found themselves averse to it but said “the circumstances have compelled us to do so”.

Accordingly, they directed the petition to be listed on 20th of this July “on which date the Collector Land Acquisition, District Shopian, shall remain present in Court along with record”.

They further directed the AAG to “ensure that the cost of Rs. 10,000 imposed vide order dated 02.06.2022, is also deposited. The aforesaid adjournment is subject to payment of further cost of Rs. 25,000 which shall be paid and deposited by the next date”.

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