Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Gauhati High Court directs Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council to consider representation by the petitioner on disputed forest land afresh

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The Gauhati High Court has closed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging that the forest land had been shown as private land in collusion with certain authorities and compensation has been paid to fictitious persons.

The PIL has been filed by one Hukum Singh Teron.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice (Acting) N. Kotiswar Singh and Justice Soumitra Saikia is of the view that no forest land should be utilised without going through the legal process and if any forest land has been utilised without proper procedure and also without ascertaining as to whether the land is a private land or forest land, it may vitiate the project.

Under the circumstances, the High Court was inclined to dispose of the PIL with direction to respondent No.5 (The Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council) to examine the grievance raised in this PIL for which the petitioner had already submitted an application before the authority on 26.11.2022.

Let the copy of the PIL be furnished to respondent No.5, which will be treated as a fresh representation and the respondent No.5, after making necessary verification, shall take necessary steps and inform the petitioner of the steps being taken by issuing a speaking order , the Court further directed.

“Though some private respondents are impleaded, in view of the order passed above, we do not consider it necessary to issue any notice to them inasmuch as it goes without saying that if the authority passes any order, which adversely affects any individual, including the private respondents, such individual must also be heard”, the order read.

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