Extra land for Rajiv Gandhi

Date: 11 Oct 2012


Extra land for Rajiv Gandhi Technology Park cancelled\\\\\\\\ Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Oct 12, 2012, 01.58AM IST \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court cancelled acquisition of huge tracts of land by Chandigarh Administration for expansion of the Rajiv Gandhi Technology Park saying the process of acquisition was illegal. It also faulted the authorities for the brazen manner in which they diverted the acquired land to favour private builders. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya was at pains to point out how officers succumbed to pressure from the then administrator of the Union Territory and acted as rubber stamps to breach mandatory provisions of the Land Acquisition Act while allowing acquisition of land for the technology park in the name of the late PM and then permitting it to be diverted to real estate developers. \\\\\\\\\\\ The court said, "Though the ostensible object of transferring land to the Chandigarh Housing Board was development of residential and other infrastructure facilities in the IT Park, the real purpose was to benefit private developers and this became evident from the decision taken in the meeting of the officers of the Chandigarh Administration held on March 30, 2006. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ "In furtherance of the aforesaid decision, the Board invited bids for disposal of the land. Parsvnath Developers Limited, who gave the bid of Rs 821.21 crore, was allotted 123.79 acres land. However, after issuing a glamorous advertisement with the title 'Parsvnath - Pride Asia, Chandigarh (an address for aristocratic living)' to attract prospective buyers of residential and commercial properties, Parsvnath Developers appears to have abandoned the project and raised certain disputes which are pending before the arbitrator." \\\\\\\\\\\\ Going through the voluminous records relating to the land acquisition, the court found that the land acquisition officer (LAO) did not even care to consider objections of the land owners. Though the court faulted him for not following the law and procedure, it sympathized with him. \\\\\\\\\\\ "If he had shown the courage of acting independently and made recommendation against acquisition of land, he would surely have been shifted from that post and his career would have been jeopardized," said Justice Singhvi, who authored the judgment. \\\\\\\\\\\ "In the system of governance, which we have today, junior officers in the administration cannot even think of, what to say of acting against the wishes/dictates of their superiors. One who violates this unwritten code of conduct does so at his own peril and is described as foolhardy," the court said. \\\\\\\\\\ Even the superior officers were no better. The bench said, "Even those constituting higher strata of services follow the path of least resistance and find it most convenient to toe the line of the superiors. Therefore, the LAO cannot be blamed for having acted as an obedient subordinate of the superior authorities, including the administrator. \\\\\\\\\ "The casual manner in which senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration dealt with the serious issue of acquisition of land of citizens signifies their total lack of respect for the constitutional provision contained in Article 300A, the law enacted by Parliament, that is the Land Acquisition Act and interpretations thereof by the Supreme Court. \\\\\\\\\\\\\ "It seems the officers were overawed by the view expressed by the administrator and the instinct of self-preservation prompted them not to go against the wishes of the administrator who wanted that additional land be acquired in the name of expansion of IT Park despite the fact that a substantial portion of the land acquired for Phase-II had been allotted to a private developer." ============================= "NATIVE DONKEYS" HONOURING THE BOFORS "CHOR" 000000000