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Wednesday, 29 July 2020

HC pulls up Karnal DC for ‘immaturity, ignorance’

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asserted that the rule of law is alive in the country and official machinery cannot be permitted to be used for oppression, while rapping the Karnal Deputy Commissioner (DC) for displaying complete immaturity and unawareness of the fundamental provisions of the law.

"The Deputy Commissioner, Karnal, would be well advised to be more circumspect in the future," the High Court asserted. The admonition came in case of a widow allegedly forced to take shelter in a relative's house after her belongings and other articles were "thrown out" of her "rented" accommodation.

Taking up the petition filed by "tenant" Harjeet Kaur, Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul asserted that the officer had no business of entering a landlord-tenant dispute sub judice in the civil court.

Justice Kaul asserted that strangely, the landlord had approached the DC only with a complaint to register a case against the petitioner for being in unauthorised possession of the house and irregular payment of rent.

The officer, in his over-enthusiasm and presumably in an effort to please the landlord and another respondent, whom he described in his affidavit as a retiree from "dignified government service", ordered an inquiry.

In a tearing hurry, he then ordered the petitioner's eviction from the house though he was well aware and conscious that civil and rent proceedings between the parties were pending in courts concerned.

"The action of the respondent is illegal and void ab initio. I am afraid and also constrained to observe that the respondent has exhibited total immaturity and ignorance of the basic provisions of law while passing the impugned order," Justice Kaul asserted.

In her detailed order, Justice Kaul observed that the DC "unabashedly" stated that there was no lapse on his part, but neither his affidavit nor the impugned order disclosed under what provisions it was passed. The state counsel could not refer to any provisions under which it was passed.

The state counsel pleaded that the impugned order was not passed with any mala fide intent or bias, but miserably failed to satisfy the court qua its legality. He conceded that the application for eviction was not maintainable and the DC could not have ordered eviction once the civil court and the Rent Controller were seized of the matter.

Setting aside the impugned ejectment order, Justice Kaul directed the restoration of possession by August 1. The Karnal Superintendent of Police was directed to ensure smooth and hurdle-free process of handing back possession.

from The Tribune

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