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Orissa High Court directs Tahasildar to plant 50 trees for rushing to impose fine

A view Orissa High Court. File

A view Orissa High Court. File | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Orissa High Court has directed a Tahasildar to plant 50 trees on roadside upon finding that the government officer rushed to impose fine without giving an encroacher, who belongs to weaker section, opportunity to present her side.

One Mita Das had encroached 0.08 acre of government land and built a thatched house under jurisdiction of Kantapada revenue inspector circle. Tahasildar of Kakatpur in Puri district had fixed September 9, 2021 for hearing the case.

It is alleged even though the encroacher had appeared on the same date but in absence of any show-cause notice and without even giving an opportunity of hearing to the encroacher, the Tahasildar on the same day not only disposed of the proceeding but also came to impose penalty, says the Order passed by Justice Biswanath Rath, Judge Orissa High Court.

Counsel appearing for the Ms. Das submitted that since encroacher was an illiterate woman and not well aware of law involved, the Tahasildar should have at least provided one more opportunity to the petitioner by serving show-cause. He argued that Tahasildar ought to have recorded the submission of the encroacher and recorded his own finding before coming to observe that the petitioner was an encroacher.   

“This Court firstly observed when a proceeding is initiated under a statute, it has a definite purpose for consideration, more particularly, when the matter involves encroachment. Tahasildar should not have rushed to decide the matters on that date itself,” Justice Rath observed.

“The Tahasildar has a responsibility to find whether the encroacher is an educated and law knowing person or not. Further, the Tahasildar has to see the encroacher if belongs to weaker section or person downtrodden in the society having not even sufficient income to take aid of counsel,” he added.

The single Bench of Orissa HC found there was mechanical disposal of the proceeding under Section 7 of the Orissa Prevention of Land Encroachment Act, 1972.

The HC ordered fresh hearing of the encroachment case by duly serving of show-cause notice. Expressing dissatisfaction over the way the encroachment case was disposed, Justice Rath cautioned the government not to repeat such mistake, which was unnecessarily increasing caseload of HC.

This Court directed the Tahasildar to at least plant 50 trees on roadside in any sector in the Cuttack Development Authority, the HC order said.

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Printable version | Jun 27, 2022 6:06:49 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/orissa-high-court-directs-tahasildar-to-plant-50-trees-for-rushing-to-impose-fine/article65439979.ece