JAYANTILAL LAXMISHANKAR PANDYA Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Jayantilal Laxmishankar Pandya
STATE OF GUJARAT
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A.S.SUPEHIA, J. -
(1.)In the present writ petition, the petitioner is seeking quashing and setting aside of the order dtd. 26/11/2021 passed by the respondent no.4- Special Committee and a further direction is sought to initiate proceedings under the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020 (for short "the Act") against the respondent nos.5 and 6.
2.1. The dispute pertains to land falling within the revenue limits of Village Kerali, bearing Revenue Survey No.18/paiki 2. It is the case of the petitioner that the said land belongs to the petitioner. It is alleged by the petitioner that the private respondent Nos.5 and 6 are the persons, who have grabbed his land. The petitioner had therefore, made an application / complaint under the provisions of the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2020 (for short "the Act") before the appropriate authority.
2.2. Pursuant to his application, the Inquiry Officer (Prant Officer, Morbi) submitted his report to the respondent No.4-Special Committee recording that the proceedings under the Act could be initiated against the respondent No.5.
2.3. Thereafter, the Committee held a meeting on 2/8/2021 headed under the Chairmanship of the District Collector, Morbi and the inquiry officer was directed to submit a report with regard to the complaint / application dtd. 31/5/2021.
2.4. In furtherance to the aforesaid, in the meeting held on 9/8/2021, a reference was made with regard to the report submitted by the Inquiry Officer and the committee had observed that the said report is unclear and thus, the same was remanded back for a fresh inquiry to be conducted within seven days and a report with definite opinion was directed to be supplied within said seven days.
2.5. Thereafter, an order was passed by the Chairman, Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Committee, dtd. 21/8/2021, whereby the Prant Officer, Morbi (Inquiry Officer) was ordered to conduct a fresh inquiry and submit a report within seven days, after considering the record of the case.
2.6. Pursuant to the aforesaid order dtd. 21/8/2021 the respondent No.3-Prant Officer, Morbi submitted a report, whereby it was opined that the complaint cannot be registered under the provisions of the Act.
2.7. Pursuant to the aforesaid report, the respondent No.4 took a decision, whereby it was decided that proceedings under the Act be dropped against the private respondent Nos.5 and 6 making a reference to the report submitted by the Inquiry Officer (Prant Officer, Morbi).
2.8. The Chairman, Land Grabbing Special Committee had sent a communication / order dtd. 26/11/2021 to the petitioner, whereby the petitioner was informed that the proceedings under the Act initiated against the private respondent No.5 and 6 are dropped.
(3.)Learned advocate Mr.Jigar Gadhvi with learned advocate Mr.Amit Barot appearing for the petitioner has made oral as well as written submissions.
3.1 It is submitted that the respondent No.4-Special Committee, while passing the impugned order has failed to consider the case of the petitioner and the material on record in proper perspective. It is submitted that the impugned order / decision is passed without considering the basic objective of the Act, which is to free the land from the land grabber. It is submitted that the definition of the "Land Grabbing" provided under "Sec. 2 (e)" of the Act clearly takes into its sweep the act / offence committed by the private respondents and prima facie the alleged act, as narrated in the complaint made by the petitioner, indicates that the act of land grabbing is committed by the respondent Nos.5 and 6. Thus, it is submitted that the complaint under the Act ought to have been registered.
3.2 Learned advocate Mr.Gadhvi has submitted that the impugned order is passed with sheer non-application of mind. It is submitted that the respondent-Special Committee had ordered the Inquiry Officer-Prant Officer, Morbi to undertake inquiry and submit a report with regard to the complaint made by the petitioner. It is submitted that the respondent- Inquiry Officer had undertaken the said exercise and had submitted a report dtd. 26/7/2021, which clearly opined that against the respondent No.5 the proceedings under the Act be initiated. It is submitted that the report dtd. 25/10/2021 submitted by the Inquiry Officer-Prant Officer, Morbi is a report, which is an outcome of the exercise of the powers done by the Inquiry Officer beyond the scope of the provision of the Act and without jurisdiction.
3.3 Learned advocate Mr.Gadhvi has submitted that Rule 6(3) of the Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Rules, 2020 (for short "the Rules") clearly provides for the function of the Committee, which is to scrutinize the inquiry report and decide a further course of action. It is further submitted that so far as the provision under Rule 5(8) of the Rules are concerned, the same provides for the duty of the committee to consider the inquiry report and decide further course of action, including filing an F.I.R. within 21 days. It is submitted that this clearly reflects that the committee cannot pass orders for a fresh inquiry.
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