SC rebukes Haridwar DM & SDM


The Supreme Court on Monday rebuked two officials of the Uttarakhand Government for “playing with orders of the court” and violating its direction on demolishing unauthorised buildings without giving any notice to the encroachers.

The apex court said it was not inclined to accept the apology or the defence of the contemnor officials who had not shown any sense of “regret or genuine remorse” for their actions.

A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said the affidavit filed by the two officials — the Haridwar District Magistrate and the Roorkee SDM — were not satisfactory and it was a case of wilful disobedience of the court’s order. The Bench did not accept the defence of the woman IAS officer that she was a 2015 batch officer and was too junior to understand the implication of the court’s order.

“Playing around with the court’s order is not a healthy exercise. She should be told. We will hold them guilty of the contempt of court,” the Bench said, adding that it was inclined to sentence them to “till the rising of the court”.

The Bench gave one last opportunity to the officials to come up with their fresh affidavit in the contempt plea filed against them by one of the encroachers, whose building was demolished. The apex court had on December 4 pulled up both the officials for demolishing “unauthorised” buildings without giving a notice to the encroachers despite the apex court orders.

The top court had given one last opportunity to the two officials to explain as to why they demolished the buildings despite it asking them to first issue the eviction notice to the encroachers and hear their objections.

The counsel appearing for both officials said that they tendered an unconditional apology, but the orders were received after the demolition exercise was over.

The Bench had earlier refused to hear the petitioner, Noor Aslam, who had moved the court seeking a contempt action against the officials for the non-compliance of the court order.

The apex court had on November 22 said: “We are inclined to take the view that before evicting any person the authority concerned is obliged to give a notice and hear the objections that may be raised.”

It had said that encroachers on the receipt of notice(s) of eviction, raise their objections and urge all contentions that might be available in law to object to the proposed eviction.

The apex court had passed the order after some encroachers moved against the district administration’s exercise to demolish 41 houses at Jaurasi village of Haridwar district.

The Uttarakhand High Court had on September 13 passed an order while disposing of a PIL directing the District Magistrate, Haridwar, to take necessary steps for removing the encroachment from the public road in accordance with law, within two months. It had said that the encroachments have been made upon public land which has narrowed down the road.

“Roads are the lifeline of the country and due to exponential increase in vehicular traffic, need is being felt to widen the existing roads. In such view of the matter, no one can be permitted to raise structures temporary or permanent, by encroaching upon land earmarked for public roads,” the high court had said. —PTI


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