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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Ex-MLA used political clout to block drain: Punjab and Haryana High Court

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asserted that a former legislator misused his political connections and influence to block a drain and dismantle pipes laid down by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). But despite the "gross illegal act", the authorities maintained silence, remained insolent towards protecting the citizens' interests, succumbed to political pressure and showed utmost servility towards the leader.

The assertion by Justice Fateh Deep Singh came on a petition filed against the Union of India, Haryana, now-deceased MLA and other respondents by Amrik Singh through counsel Jagdish Manchanda.

Influenced respondent

What one can perceive that being a politically connected person, the respondent-MLA had influenced another respondent (represented by the Haryana Additional Advocate General), who has tried to be evasive in his reply obviously aimed at succumbing to the political pressure of the respondent-MLA. —Justice Fateh Deep Singh, High Court

He was seeking directions to the respondents to open a minor culvert "blocked" by respondent-MLA as crops belonging to him and other farmers were being damaged. The Bench was told that the petitioner and his family owned more than 168 kanals along the Ambala-Kaithal National Highway. But the respondent, who happened to be an MLA, closed the culvert by placing mud at the opening. As a consequence, accumulating water was causing irreparable loss to the crops.

Taking up the matter, Justice Fateh Deep Singh observed even the local commissioner appointed by the court stated in his report that water had logged on account of an unauthorised bandh set up by putting earth and raising construction, "inevitably suggesting it was done by the respondent-MLA".

Justice Fateh Deep Singh also referred to a report by a "Resident Engineer" stating: "After the discharge of the water recently, Gagan Jot Singh Sandhu, son of late Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, has dismantled the pipes and blocked the drain. If in near future heavy rains occurred, the fields of the petitioner will be flooded...."

The Judge asserted it was clearly elicited from the report that the respondent misused his political connections and influence to block the drain and dismantled the pipes. As a consequence of his "illegal and unwarranted act", rainwater had accumulated and was entering the petitioner's fields and causing loss to them.

from The Tribune

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