The Allahabad High Court came down heavily on the Railways administration saying it has miserably failed in its duty to prevent encroachment of its land.

In the order passed on Thursday, a two-judge Bench comprising of Justice Pritinker Diwakar and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava, also issued a slew of directions to the Railways authorities to remove all encroachments and ensure that no fresh encroachment was reported.

The Railways authorities shall immediately issue notice to the occupants of the Railways land asking them to vacate the land within three weeks of the notice being served on them, the bench observed.

If the occupants/encroachers fail to vacate the land despite notice having been served, it shall be open to the Railway authorities to initiate appropriate action to forcibly dispossess such occupants/encroachers and demolish or remove the unauthorized structures raised by them by taking assistance of the local police force. The Superintendent/Commissioner of Police of the concerned area is expected to ensure that adequate police force is deployed on the site and surrounding areas including protection to the officials/staff engaged in the demolition of the illegal structures and eviction process, it noted.

The Bench said the Railways administration is expected to initiate civil/criminal action against the encroachers/unauthorized occupants at the earliest once such cases were brought to the notice of the officials concerned.

The Railways administration as also the local administration and the State Government is expected to initiate appropriate action against the erring persons, including the officials of the concerned establishment for allowing and tolerating such encroachment and for not taking corrective action for removal of the encroachment at the right time, the court observed.

The Bench also directed the Railways authorities to ensure no new encroachments were made on the areas that were being cleared by way of the court order and see to it that every encroachment was duly reported.

The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by one Anoop Kumar Mishra of Prayagraj, which alleged that officials of the Indian Railways were aware of the encroachment of the department's land, but did not take any action.

With PTI inputs