SHIMLA-----In the matter pertaining to the encroachment on government land at Chaithala village in Tehsil Kotkhai, the High Court of H.P. today directed the Deputy Secretary (Revenue) to remain present before the court on next date of hearing. The Deputy Secretary (Revenue) had filed status report in this matter, but some ambiguity was observed by the court. Therefore, the court directed the Secretary (Revenue) to be present before the court on 30th March, 2016 to explain the position. The court further made it clear that in order to remove the ambiguity, the respondents are at liberty to file supplementary affidavit. The court also directed the parties to produce copy of order, passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in regard to encroachment on forest land, about which news appeared in various newspapers in recent past.
A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan passed these orders on a petition taken up suo moto by the Court as Public Interest Litigation on a letter written to the Chief Justice by a resident of Village Chaithala in Tehsil Kotkhai.
The petitioner has alleged around 40 residents of villages Chaithala, Nagpuri Chaithala, Karewag Chaithala and Sevag Chaitala have raised apple orchards on around 500 bighas government land. They have felled Deodar trees on the government land and raised orchards. Some of them have even availed financial help from the government for constructing apple grading and packing house and water storage tanks. The petitioner also alleged that the government has also provided the encroachers electricity and water connections.
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