HC sends notice to Khemka
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Asking Khemka to respond by December 19, Justice Ranjit Singh said: "The officer had referred to this court by name while appearing on some electronic media or while the issue was covered in the newspapers. Let notice be issued to the officer as to why and in what authority he had referred to this court by name, while making reference to the order passed and whether it would lead to violation of any norms or would be of the nature of contempt."
The order added that in this case (surplus land), the special collector (Khemka) had appeared before the court on October 1 and expressed difficulty in not deciding the matter, despite a direction issued by this court. "Finding the explanation to be reasonable, the respondent government was required to take a decision to give the charge of this appointment to an officer, who could competently exercise such powers of special collector. Subsequently, on the basis of this order, the special collector challenged some action of the government in directing his transfer from the appointment held by him. This would be an issue between the officer and the government. But the officer had referred to this court by name," the court added.
The directions were issued on a petition originally filed by one Jai Bhagwaan, who had alleged that the land allotted to him by the government already stood sold to a private company. He had submitted that the land — nearly 50 kanals in Gurgaon — belongs to him and should be released from the Hyderabad-based company in question. Since the officer failed to appear, the high court in September had issued bailable warrants against him.
According to the ceiling on Land Holdings Act, a landowner or landlord cannot retain a land beyond a permissible limit. The "surplus" land stands vested with the government, which can further sell it to people.
In the current case, the Haryana government had declared 110 kanals of land as "surplus" in Gurgaon. The land was originally registered in the name of two women. Of the total land, 22 kanals and 2 marlas was allotted to Jai Bhagwaan in 1994. However, a few years later, a Hyderabad-based company moved court alleging that the said land was already sold to it by the original owners in 1988.
After several bouts of litigation at the district and state level, the two parties had finally reached the high court. While the company claimed that it is the bonafide owner, Jai Bhagwaan had cried foul stating that if the land was already sold in 1988, the government authorities should have informed him and could not have allotted the land to him.
No rule stops me from writing to CM: Khemka
There is no rule which binds him from writing a letter to the chief minister, said Haryana's whistleblower IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who had on Monday questioned Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on the posting of an HCS officer on a cadre post.
Khemka was summoned by the Haryana Chief Secretary P K Chaudhery on Tuesday afternoon.
After a 30-minute conversation with the Chief Secretary in his office at the Civil Secretariat, Khemka told mediapersons that whatever he had written to Hooda was in his personal capacity and there was no rule, which binds him from doing so.
"I am like a daughter, who left her home (West Bengal in my case) and came to Haryana. Now, Haryana is my home and I am domiciled here. The state's interests are mine and I work for Haryana's interests. I am not vindictive. In my letter, I have clearly mentioned that the views expressed in the letter were not of either Haryana Seeds Development Corporation or any other government body," he added.
Khemka had written a scathing note to Hooda questioning the appointment of HCS officer Vivek Atray on two cadre posts, including as HARTRON managing director and deputy secretary and director of electronics and information technology.
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