Sunday, October 1, 2023

Patna High Court disposes of PIL seeking removal of encroachment from public road

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The Patna High Court disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed for a direction to the authorities concerned to remove the encroachment from the public road encroached by the private respondents.

The Bihar Public Land Encroachment Act, 1956 provides remedy for removal of encroachment from public lands. Section 4 of the Act allows an opportunity to the noticee (petitioner) to raise any defense which they could have raised if they were defendants in a properly framed suit for removal of encroachment. The Act also provides an opportunity of hearing under Section 5; as well as the consequences of nonappearance in the proceedings.

“It is only after observing the above procedure that final order is to be passed by the Collector under Section 6 of the Act, either dropping the proceedings or passing orders for ensuring removal of encroachment, damages or otherwise. The order of the Collector for removing encroachment is also subject to appeal under Section 11 of the Act. Section 13 of the Act also provides an opportunity of review in case of any mistake or error in the course of any proceedings”, the Division Bench of Chief Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice Rajiv Roy observed.

The issue raised by the petitioner is essentially an issue falling within the scope and ambit of the Act. The petition, by way of a PIL, therefore, in the opinion of the Court, is misconceived. If the instant case were to be entertained as a PIL, then all issues of encroachment would be required to be dealt with by the Court as a PIL.

If the petitioner’s grievance includes encroachment on any plot, then the remedy would lie by way of proceedings under the Act , the Court held.

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