Friday, December 8, 2023

Allahabad High Court sets aside Deoria DM order denying farmer’s claim for compensation

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The Allahabad High Court has directed the committee under the chairmanship of Deoria District Magistrate to take a decision within three months regarding payment of compensation to farmers for construction of a public road in memory of CRPF constable Vijay Maurya who was martyred in the Pulwama militant attack.

The Division Bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Justice Vivek Kumar Singh passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Pawan Kumar Mishra.

The writ petition has been preferred for quashing the order dated 3.10.2022 passed by respondent no 3-District Magistrate/ Collector, Deoria and for a direction to respondents to grant compensation in favour of the petitioner and concerned tenure holders as per Land Acquisition Act, 2013 in lieu of the agricultural land of the petitioner and concerned tenure holders acquired by the respondent authorities.

Counsel for the petitioner states that the petitioner is a resident of Village Jigna Mishra, Block Bhatni, Tehsil Salempur, Distt- Deoria and a construction of public road of 1.8 km has been notified in the name of CRPF constable Vijay Maurya, martyr in the Pulwama Militant Attack from Hatwa bypass to Village Chhapiya Jaidev passing through Village Jigna Mishra.

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The said 1.8-km link road from Hatwa bypass to Village Chhapiya Jaidev is passing through VillageJigna Mishra and the width of the said road is 3.75 metres and 1 to 1.5 metres pathway has to be built by the State Public Works Department. The said approved road is mentioned as Naali and Chak Road in the revenue record.

It is alleged that the said width of the chak road is 15 to 20 kari but the approved road is being constructed 30 to 35 kari and the surplus kari of the land is being taken from the farmers without their consent and without providing any compensation to farmers and the soil from the surplus kari of the land is also being taken by the respondents.

Being aggrieved by the aforesaid acts, the petitioner and other tenure holders of the said village have moved several representations to the authorities concerned but no action has been taken.

Aggrieved with the same, the petitioner has preferred Writ-C No 6212 of 2022 (Pawan Kumar Mishra v State of U.P & Ors), which was disposed of on 14.3.2022 with following observations:-

“The grievance raised by the petitioner in the writ petition is that though the possession of the land owned by him was taken by the respondents, however, he has not been paid compensation therefore.

The counsel for the State submitted that for redressal of such grievance, a Committee was constituted by the State vide Government Order dated May 12, 2016. In case, the petitioner approaches the authority, his claim shall be decided in terms of the time fixed therein. He further submitted that the Court has also issued a direction on November 2, 2021 in Writ-C No 25425 of 2021 titled as Ram Kailash Nishad and others v State of UP and others, for disposal of all such pending applications.

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After hearing counsel for the parties and considering the submissions, the Court ruled it will be appropriate that the issues be examined by the Committee at this stage as certain factual aspects need consideration.

Let the petitioner file his application before the Committee and, in case, such application is filed, the same shall be considered in terms of time fixed in the aforesaid Government Order. The writ petition is, accordingly, disposed of.”

The Court noted as per the direction, the petitioner moved an application before the District Magistrate, Deoria on 16.4.2022. A seven-member committee was constituted by the order of the District Magistrate, Deoria and the seven members committee heard the petitioner with documentary evidence on 19.9.2022 and finally passed an order on 19.9.2022 rejecting the claim of the petitioner. It is alleged that the said enquiry report is vitiated as the Executive Engineer (Prantiya Khand), PWD Deoria on one hand acted as an opposite party and on the other hand he was made member of the committee.

It is also alleged that the said report is based totally on assumptions and incorrect facts. Only on the basis of the report of said seven members committee, the District Magistrate/Collector, Deoria has rejected the claim of the petitioner vide order impugned dated 3.10.2022 without applying his independent mind.

Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the report of the seven members committee is based on illegal, arbitrary and hypothetical ground. The agricultural land of the tenure holders are the only source of their livelihood but the respondent authorities are not considering the grievance of the tenure holders and also not providing their compensation as per the norms and conditions of the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

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On the other hand, the Standing Counsel has submitted that the impugned order has been passed strictly in accordance with law and there is no infirmity in it.

“The Court has proceeded to examine the record in question and find that serious factual disputes have been raised herein this writ petition, which cannot be adjudicated by this Court under Art.226 of the Constitution of India. The factual aspect, which has been raised herein this writ petition, can very well be looked into, examined and redressed by the Redressal Grievance Committee headed by the District Magistrate in the light of the Government Order dated 12.5.2016,”

-the Court observed while disposing the petition.

“In view of above, the order dated 3.10.2022 is set aside. The matter is relegated to the Redressal Grievance Committee headed by the District Magistrate to look into, examine and redress the grievance of the petitioner strictly in accordance with law expeditiously and preferably within three months from the date of production of certified copy of the order but certainly after giving opportunity to all the stakeholders in the matter,” the Court ordered. 

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