Pulling up the Himachal Pradesh government for not taking timely actions to prevent illegal constructions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked how come six or seven floors are constructed as tourist lodges at places were as per building plan only one floor is permitted.
On May 3, the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta had pulled up the state government on the issue of the murder of a Kasauli assistant town planner on Tuesday by a guest house owner during the demolition of the guest house on the orders of the apex court.
It had sought an affidavit on the issue by today
The bench on Wednesday asked the government to file a fresh affidavit stating the names and designation of officials who are involved in the sealing and demolition drive, guidelines to ensure that no illegal constructions happen in future etc.
The bench also sought to know from the Advocate General of the state who appeared on the directions of the bench what steps they have taken to ensure protection of others officials involved in the demolition drive, what steps they have taken to arrest the accused Vijay Singh in this case and what is the progress of identifying illegal constructions in other tourist spots like Manali, Dharamshala, and Mc Leodganj. But the bench said it would not encroach into the sphere of the High Court which is also looking into the issue of illegal constructions
The bench had taken suo motu cognizance of the murder after a lawyer
“See It is a huge problem for the future. Now people are like let the case come up in Supreme Court then we will see and if someone comes to stop demolition, implement court order …we will shoot them dead..Where is the rule of law? What is this happening”, Justice Lokur had asked the Advocate General.
At the outset, the AG had on that day said the state has taken all precaution and also assured that no such incidents will recur.
Are you planning to pay compensation to the family of the deceased? (town planner Shali Bala)? When the AG said for the time being Rs five lakh has been paid, the bench asked: “What are doing to assure safety and security of other such officers out to implement our orders?”
“Why have you not cordoned off the place –the lodge- we saw on TV people coming out and going inside the property.. it’s a crime scene …secure it”
The AG had said the Regional Commissioner is heading the enquiry. “Unless you take things seriously you are only encouraging people to break law”, Justice Gupta told the AG.
“How did a small time state government staff get money to build a guest house? Have you ever thought about it ? I think you should also probe the corruption angle. There could be some corruption”, said Justice Lokur
The bench wondered what the policemen accompanying the official were doing when the accused opened fire and fled.
The bench had ordered the demolitions in April and took suo motu cognizance after a lawyer brought the incident to its notice.
Guesthouse owner Vijay Sigh shot the official, Shail Bala, on Tuesday after an altercation over the execution of the SC ruling.
As a public works department team began pulling down a part of Narayani Guest House at Mando Matkanda, Singh fired three rounds, leaving Bala dead and another officer seriously injured. Singh disappeared into the nearby forest after the incident and Solan police have announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for anyone providing information leading to his arrest.