STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani has directed Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, to personally attend the court on next date of hearing so that charges may be framed against him for willful and deliberate disobedience of orders of the court causing interference in administration of justice. This significant order has been passed in a contempt petition on account of disobedience of judgment dated March 17, 2015.
DB after hearing Senior Adv Vikram Sharma appearing for petitioners observed that the Appellate Court by aforesaid judgment and order affirmed the judgment of the Single Judge holding that land in question is under occupation of Army and the Army is liable for payment of rental compensation which was paid upto 2003 and, therefore, compensation from 2003 onwards upto March 2015 is liable to be paid. Accordingly, direction was issued to the Deputy Commissioner Rajouri to assess the rent of the land and it was made clear that the disbursement of compensation, so determined and deposited, shall be made to rightful owners of the land after proper verification.
DB further observed that in confirming the aforesaid judgment, the Division Bench directed that the arrears of rent from 2003 upto 2015 be deposited within extended period of three months and that the Army shall continuously deposit the rent as already directed as long as land remains in its occupation. An affidavit has been filed on behalf of Army stating that the rental compensation up to 31st March 2021 has been deposited with the Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri.
The court vide order dated July 7, 2021 has required the Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, to furnish a detailed affidavit as to why the amount deposited from the year 2003 to March 2020 has not been disbursed to owner till now. In pursuance of Court direction, the Deputy Commissioner has filed affidavit indicating various reasons for not distributing compensation and one of the reasons is that part of land falls in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and for the land which is on Indian side, it is not possible to go on spot as there is danger of mines being exploded and, as such, it is next to impossible to verify ownership of land.
DB failed to understand how the ownership rights of any party can be verified by going on spot or on the land. It can be done on the basis of revenue records or by collecting revenue documents from the various parties including the petitioners or by demanding the title deeds. In facts and circumstances of the case, it is clear that Army is liable for payment of rental compensation for the land in question till the same is in its occupation and that Army has deposited the rental compensation upto March 2021 but same is not being distributed by the Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, due to proper verification of rightful owners entitled to receive the compensation.
DB observed that the explanation forwarded by the Deputy Commissioner appears to be an eye-wash and not very convincing and directed the Deputy Commissioner Rajouri to personally attend the court on next date of hearing so that charge may be framed against him for willful and deliberate disobedience of court orders causing interference in the administration of justice.