Connect with us

News

HP High Court strikes down retention policy after terming it illegal

Published

on

HP Government retention policy struck down by hp high court

Not only it contradicts with the object and purpose of the principal act, but was also “manifestly arbitrary, irrational, illogical, capricious and unreasonable.”

Shimla: As a huge setback for the potential beneficiaries of the retention policy, the State High Court has struck down the amendment made in the HP Town and Country Planning Act through a bill that was passed by the Congress-led government in September 2016.

 The government had sought to legalise illegally raised buildings/structures on “as is, where is” basis by imposing a trivial fee of Rs. 500 to 1,000 per square feet. 

A division bench of the high court comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan said the insertion of Section 30-C in the amended Act violates the Article 14 of the Constitution, which provides for equality before the law.

It implies that the court is directing the government to go ahead with demolition of illegal structures as there was no legal hindrance to defend the action.    

Before striking down the amendment, the bench also held that not only it contradicts with the object and purpose of the principal act, but was also “manifestly arbitrary, irrational, illogical, capricious and unreasonable.”

“The science behind planning has given way to human greed and not the need, as the Minister wanted the House to believe,” said the Court  

The government had enacted the law from July 2017. However, the amendment was challenged by some petitioners appealing the court to consider it cheating with the honest people, who have followed all the rules and regulations regarding the construction.

The Court had stayed the implementation of it after the petitions filed by Abhimanyu Rathor, Raghav Goel and Hitanshu Jishtu.

The strongest argument given by then Minister of Urban Development, Sudhir Sharma, was that illegal buildings have mushroomed to an extent where mass demolition would leave people homeless and cause possible law and order situation.

The government said the people were not aware of the laws regarding the construction and raised buildings in wake of increasing demand for residential and commercial purposes amid rapid urbanization.

However, the Court made it a point that it was the duty of the government to create awareness among its people regarding the existing construction laws, and that it cannot use this argument as an excuse for its deliberate neglect towards the trend of illegal construction, which mushroomed right under its nose.    

On Friday, the Court finally dismissed the amendment under which the government was planning to regularize over 2,500 illegal structures in Shimla only.  

The government could not provide any solid facts about its explanation for introducing a retention policy, said the bench.

The Court pointed out that excessive construction will overburden the available resources and public amenities.

It said urban Shimla is clear evidence that the city did not develop in a planned and scientific manner. During the British-era Shimla was developed for a population of less than 20,000. However, currently, it is bearing a burden of over 2.5 lakh people.

The construction around the core area is so congested that a mild-intensity temblor could reduce the city into a tomb of rubble, the Court said. 

The destruction of ecology was another factor that the Court considered while striking down the retention policy.

Further, the Court has condemned the repeated efforts of the government to protect, patronize, and encourage the violators by creating such policies instead of taking action against them.

News

Haryana Tourists Fire Bullets in Air at Hatu Mata Temple, Brandish Rifle, Manhandle Priest

Published

on

Hatu temple gun fire by tourists

Shimla-Following regular instances of hooliganism and assaults with weapons by tourists from neighbouring states, especially Punjab and Haryana, the Himachal Pradesh Police had announced regular checking of tourist vehicles on borders to prevent them from carrying weapons into the state. However, the tourists continue to bring weapons, including firearms, into the state.   

In a fresh incident, some tourists from Haryana on October 13, 2021, reportedly fired bullets in the air near the Hatu Mata Temple, Narkanda.  On hearing the sound of gunshots, the priest of the temple, Lalit Sharma, approached these tourists and objected to it. The tourists allegedly grabbed him by the neck and gave him life threats.

The priest freed himself somehow and immediately informed the temple committee about the incident. A member of the temple committee also informed the local police.

The priest said that a special pooja (worship) was organized at the temple on the occasion of Durga Ashtami and a large number of people was present inside the premises to participate in the pooja. This incident created panic among these devotees.

A taxi driver, Shravan Kumar, told police that two cars – HR 16X-3753 MG Hector & PB 26G-5555 Fortuner- were parked in the middle of the Hatu Mata link road, blocking the traffic. The tourists in these vehicles were brandishing guns and creating a nuisance. A short video clip showing one of these men brandishing a gun from their vehicle has also appeared. It was speculated that these men were intoxicated. 

Later, the local police arrived at the scene and apprehended about eight tourists for questioning. The police recovered a pistol, a rifle, and a dozen of bullets from the men. Cases were filed against two of them. When inquired in front of the temple committee, the two tourists told the police their names and addresses. They were identified as Kuldeep, 37, of Tehsil Lauharu, District Bhiwani, Haryana,  and Abhishek Kumar, 27, of district Bhawani, Harayana.

A case was filed at the Police Station, Kumarsain under Section 336, 34 of IPC and 25-54/59 of the Arms Act. The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Rampur, Chandrashekhar confirmed the report.

The temple committee has expressed concern over the incident and asked the police and the district administration to take stringent action against these men for hooliganism and creating a nuisance. The committee also urged that steps should be taken to prevent such incidents in the future.

Continue Reading

News

New Chief Justice of HP High Court Justice Mohammad Rafiq Takes Oath

Published

on

New Chief Justice of Himachal PRadesh High Court justice mohammad rafiq

Shimla-The new Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Justice Mohammad Rafiq, was today administered the oath of office by Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar in a ceremony held at Raj Bhawan.

Justice Mohammad Rafiq was born on 25th May 1960 at Sujangarh in the Churu district of Rajasthan. He completed B.Com in 1980, LL.B in 1984 and M.Com in 1986 from the University of Rajasthan.

He, later on, joined the Bar and practised as an Advocate after enrolment with the Bar Council of Rajasthan on 8th July 1984. He practised exclusively in Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur in almost all branches of law and specially conducted constitutional matters, service matters, land acquisition cases, land revenue cases, preventive detention cases, customs & excise matters, railway claims cases, tax matters, company matters and criminal matters before the High Court.

He worked as Assistant Government Advocate for the State of Rajasthan from 15th July 1986 to 21st December 1987 and Deputy Government Advocate from 22nd December 1987 to 29th June 1990. He appeared before the High Court as panel advocate for various Departments of the State Government for five years i.e. from 1993 to 1998.

He also represented the Union of India as Standing Counsel from 1992 to 2001 before the High Court. He also represented the Indian Railways, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, Rajasthan Board of Muslim Wakfs, Jaipur Development Authority, Rajasthan Housing Board and Jaipur Municipal Corporation before the Rajasthan High Court.

He was appointed as Additional Advocate General for the State of Rajasthan on 7th January 1999 and worked as such till his elevation to the Bench. He was appointed as Judge of the Rajasthan High Court on 15th May 2006. He also worked as Acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court twice; from 7th April 2019 to 4th May 2019 and from 23rd September 2019 to 5th October 2019. He was also the Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority and the Administrative Judge of the Rajasthan High Court before elevation as the Chief Justice. He was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya from 13th November 2019 to 26th April 2020. Justice Mohammad Rafiq was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on 27th April 2020, on being transferred from the Meghalaya High Court. He was administered the oath of office of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh on 3rd January 2021, on being transferred from the Orissa High Court.

The ceremony took place at the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhawan, where Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh conducted the proceedings of the oath ceremony and read out the notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law and Justice regarding the transfer of Justice Mohammad Rafiq as Chief Justice of the HP High Court.

Continue Reading

News

HP Bypolls 2021: Bragta Doesn’t Withdraw Nomination, Remains Out of Sight Entire Day to Evade BJP Leadership

Published

on

chetan bragta's election symbol is apple

Shimla-Chetan Bragta, who has revolted against the Bharatiya Janata Party over denial of ticket to him, didn’t withdraw his nomination. October 13 was the last day for the withdrawal of nominations.  BJP leaders, who had been claiming that Bragta would withdraw his nomination, kept searching for him throughout the day but couldn’t find him or connect to him.

As per reports, Bragta had disappeared this morning to avoid BJP leaders and his mobile numbers were also switched off. However, Bragta posted a video on social media after the time for withdrawal of nomination ended. In this video, Bragta informed that the Election Commission has allotted “apple” as his election symbol. He also said that he would not step back and would fight the elections as an independent candidate.


The reports also said that BJP workers and leaders kept searching for Bragta in order to convince him to withdraw his nomination. However, the reports said, to avoid this pressure for withdrawal, he decided to disappear and switch off his mobile numbers.

Meanwhile, there are speculations that BJP is likely to expel him from the party. BJP, while denying him a ticket for the HP by polls 2021, had cited discouraging ‘dynastic politics’ as the reason. 

Pertinent to mention that BJP had denied a ticket to Chetan Braga – son of former MLA Narender Bragta- from the Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seat that had fallen vacant after the demise of his father. The ticket was instead given to Neelam Seraik.

While the chances of Neelam’s victory already seems to be bleak, Chetan Bragta has further aggravated the tension for BJP. This rebellion could benefit Congress Candidate Rohit Thakur.

BJP had faced revolt on all three Assembly seats over denial of ticket. However, somehow it convinced the miffed leaders on Arki and Fatehpur Assembly seats to not file nominations as independent candidates. However, BJP failed to do so in the case of Chetan Bragta. BJP had been maintaining that there is no resistance to its selected candidates from within the party.

Continue Reading

Trending