Indolence & Lethargy On The Part Of Officials Concerned: P&H HC Directs ₹5 Lacs Compensation To Be Paid To Widow Of Havaldar
The Punjab and Haryana High Court while disposing of a writ petition related to 10 acres of land allotted to the widow of a martyr sympathized with her and strongly condemned the actions of the officials and stated, "Such evident indifference and indolence, on the part of the respondents concerned, is required to be deprecated in the strongest terms".
A Bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur and Justice Kuldeep Tiwari while deciding a case compensated Rs 5 Lakhs to the widow of a Havaldar for unnecessarily dragging her into litigation.
The case before the court was that she was the widow of the late Havaldar Kehar Singh who was martyred while defending the country's borders. In his exhibition of gallantry, she was allotted 10 acres of land on August 8, 1997, at village Khera Bet, Tehsil and District Ludhiana. When she was allotted the land on May 18, 2009, the fact came to light that out of the 10 acres of land, 2 acres were under forest cover. Despite directions by the Director, of Land Records, Punjab, to the Revenue Officer-cum-Consolidation Officer, Ludhiana on April 8, 2015, no revenue rasta was assigned to the petitioner for her access or utilize the land for her use.
The Bench observed that the consequences of no revenue rasta being allotted to a widow of a deceased martyr become evidently disabled as she is not able to enjoy the allotted land, they noted "The consequence of no revenue rasta being assigned to the widow of deceased martyr..... brings the ill consequence qua the said allotment being completely purposeless, as she became evidently disabled to enjoy the allotted land since the year 2009".
The petitioners were represented by Advocate Mohit Aneja and Advocate Rahul Sharma.
Advocate Monika Jalota, Senior Deputy Advocate General, Punjab appearing for the state contended that the revenue rasta has been allotted to the petitioner, the court however did not seem content and said that this allotment was belated as a result of which the petitioner whose husband has given the valiant services rendered to the nation had to approach the court.
The Court condemned the actions taken by the state and was of the opinion that given the valiant services of the petitioner's husband, the authorities were required to take prompt action rather than being indolent and apathetic. The Court observed "The valiant services of an able soldier of the Indian Army, who is the deceased martyr of the present petitioner, but required to be not dealt with gross apathy, and, indifference, rather required that the honour which is to be bestowed, upon his surviving family members, thus becomes bestowed with the utmost promptitude besides with lack of indifference and apathy"
The Court further displeased by the respondent's actions observed, "Therefore, such evident indifference and indolence, on the part of the respondents concerned, is required to be deprecated in the strongest terms". Sympathising with the petitioner being unnecessarily dragged into this litigation, the court observed, "the petitioner being led to access this Court, and, that too repeatedly rather for ensuring that the honours bestowed upon the surviving members of a deceased martyr become fully potentialized was also completely unnecessary........Therefore, for the petitioner becoming unnecessarily dragged into litigation, and, that too repeatedly, thus requires that direction(s) to monetarily recompense, the petitioner, becoming rendered upon the respondents concerned".
The Court while disposing of the petition directed the respondents to remit a sum of Rs 5 Lakhs into the bank account of the petitioner for the indolence and lethargy on the part of the respondents.
Cause Title: Balwant Kaur v. State of Punjab and Ors. [Neutral Citation No:=2023:PHHC:064069-DB]