Saturday, December 3, 2022

Chhattisgarh HC imposes cost of Rs 2,500 on man for PIL over school land

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The Chhattisgarh High Court recently dismissed a PIL with a cost of Rs 2,500 on the petitioner heading the cause of a Government Primary School, Government Middle School and Government Higher Secondary School.

The PIL has been filed by one Mohan Lal Patel primarily on the ground that Government Primary School, Government Middle School and Government Higher Secondary School are situated at village Charra and the additional lands were allotted to them 40 years back. The school used to do agriculture and thereby used to earn. It is stated that the said earning was used in the development of the school.

The petitioner submitted that all of a sudden the State has occupied the part of the land without any allotment to them and started construction and access of the school to such land and the general public has been stopped. The petitioner further submitted that on enquiry it was revealed that agriculture college is being constructed over the land.

It is further submitted that the land which is under use in respect of which no express allotment was made by the State and the petitioner is resident of village Charra, Block Kurud and because of such action the school would be deprived of their future income as was being done earlier.

Further, it is contended that the account sheet has been filed to show that the revenue generated from the income over the said agricultural land was being used for the development of the school, therefore the respondent be restrained to raise any construction over the land on which the alleged agriculture college is constructed. Petitioner further contended  that when initially this PIL was filed the State took time to file their reply and taking advantage of this, the construction was being raised over the subject land. Therefore, the respondent be restrained to raise any superstructure over the land, claimed the Petitioner.

Also Read: Chhattisgarh High Court dismisses PIL against encroachment on govt land in Rajnandgaon district

Per contra,  State counsel H.S. Ahluwalia opposed the argument and argued that the land has been allotted by the Collector in exercise of power under Section 237(3) of the Chhattisgarh Land Revenue Code for construction of agriculture college at village Charra. It is submitted that the government land on which the construction is raised was earlier allotted to forest of total area 17.39 hectare and total 30.06 hectare including the grassland (community land) was allotted for construction of college by changing the nature.

Ahluwalia  further apprised the Court  that the Government Primary School Charra, Government New Primary School Charra and Government Middle School are situated over land which is approximately 1 to 1.5 km away from the land allotted for construction of building. He further submitted that the plea raised by the petitioner that the revenue are being generated would be completely frivolous for the reason that it is government school for which the salary are being paid to the teachers from the government fund and the petitioner therefore cannot espouse the cause.

The Division Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri and Justice N.K. Chandravanshi after hearing the Counsel for the respective parties observed that there is no document on record to show that any such allotment at any point of time was made to the school. Counsel for the Petitioner though has pointed out that the pond has been covered but there is nothing on record to substantiate the same except the oral statement.

The documents which are placed on record obtained under the RTI purports that Rs 35,000, Rs 16,000 and Rs 20,000 was earned by agriculture which is certified by the HeadMaster thereby the earning of Rs 71,000 was generated for the last revenue year. The account is also filed to show the earning and expenditure with a earning column and expenditure column.

The Court failed to understand under what capacity the government school was having its earning by the extra source to generate the revenue of its own and in turn spend it according to their free wish and will.

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“The petitioner wants to espouse the cause of the government school that their earning would be stalled but what provisions and rules allows such earning to a government school is unknown. No one from the government school made any representation or any application to the State; instead it appears that handed over the baton to this petitioner. When the government funds are being utilized then there are certain norms and procedures that are required to be followed. In the instant case, it can’t be left open to the free wish and will of a teacher/principal of a particular school to make an earning by encroachment over the government land and spend it to their own accord. Even if there is certain earning from the out source, for the expenses and account there is no audit, therefore who has pocketed the money is unknown,”

-further observed the Court.

On the contrary, the State has filed its affidavit along with an order which is filed in the petition of 28/06/2018  which shows that the Collector, Dhamtari has allotted the land part for construction of agriculture college. The construction of the agriculture college would be for the public purpose. The affidavit filed by the State states that the exercise of power was made under Section 237(3) of the Chhattisgarh Land Revenue Code whereby such lands were allotted. Further the affidavit also purports that the  government school situated is about 1 to 1.5 km away from the land allotted for construction of the building.

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“In view of the above discussion, if the school was in occupation of certain land and were earning the revenue, in absence of any allotment letter no presumption can be drawn. It would be only a self certificate issued to the school itself and under what capacity the petitioner has filed this PIL also makes it doubtful. Under the circumstances, taking into the facts of this case we are of the opinion that the petition so preferred in the name of the public cause is frivolous and is liable to be dismissed with a cost of Rs 2500 to be payable to the State,”

-the Order reads.

Also Read:

Allahabad High Court allows conditional bail application of man charged with murder

Allahabad HC acquits man sentenced to death in rape and murder case of 6-year-old girl in Rampur

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