12 Dec 2022 10:00 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has directed the concerned Tahasildars who held the post between July 24, 2014 to February, 10, 2022 to jointly pay a cost of Rs 3 lakh from their personal pockets to a 68-year-old woman, for disobeying a court order passed in 2014, directing survey of her land. A division bench of Justices B Veerappa and K S Hemalekha while dropping the contempt...
The Karnataka High Court has directed the concerned Tahasildars who held the post between July 24, 2014 to February, 10, 2022 to jointly pay a cost of Rs 3 lakh from their personal pockets to a 68-year-old woman, for disobeying a court order passed in 2014, directing survey of her land.
A division bench of Justices B Veerappa and K S Hemalekha while dropping the contempt proceedings initiated by Parvathamma against Munish Moudgil, Commissioner, Land Survey and Land Record Department, said,
"...the learned Single Judge passed order on 24-7-2014 directing the accused or the competent authority to conduct survey...However, the same has been complied with, after the lapse of eight years. The complainant who is a senior citizen was forced to file the present contempt petition by engaging the services of the counsel by spending litigation expenses, and faced mental trauma because of not implementing the court order for more than eight years."
The complainant had filed the contempt petition seeking action against the accused for willful disobedience of Single Judge's order directing them to conduct survey within a period of nine months. State blamed the delay on administrative exigencies and adjacent forest land.
However, the High Court noted that the site sketch and mutation entries were made only in September 2022, i.e. after lapse of eight years from the date of original order and four years from the date of filing of the contempt petition. "This clearly indicates that Authorities under the State Government have no respect for the Court orders."
Referring to the circular issued by the state government stipulating Departmental Enquiry for non-implementation of court orders, the bench said "Unfortunately, Authorities or the State Government have issued Circular only on paper. The Authority, namely the Tahasildar, has not implemented the Circular, or the Court orders."
Following which the bench opined,
"The Authorities of the State Government, namely the Tahasildars, who are acting as Revenue Authorities under the provisions of Land Revenue Act are under constitutional duty coupled with power. Every public servant is a trustee of the society and in all facets of public administration, every Government servant has to exhibit honesty, integrity, sincerity and faithfulness in implementation of the political, social, economic and constitutional policies to integrate the nation, to achieve excellence and efficiency in the public administration."
Further it said, "Government or its authorities, who are entrusted with duty and power to implement constitutional policy under Articles 14, 21 and 300 of Constitution of India. and all inter-related directive principles of state policy under the Constitution, should exhibit transparency in implementation and be accountable for due effectuation of constitutional goals."
It added "It is high time for the State Government to implement its own Circular dated 31-1-2022 against the erring Officer and to ensure that orders of the Court shall be complied with, otherwise, people will lose confidence in the judicial system."
Then it expressed "Today, the judiciary is the repository of public faith. It is the trustee of the people. It is the last hope of the people. After every knock at all the doors fail, people approach the judiciary as the last resort. It is the only temple worshipped by every citizen of this nation, regardless of religion, caste, sex or place of birth."
It then urged,
"Because of these kinds of Officers in the State and because of the inaction on the part of the Authority-Tahsildar in non-implementation of the Circular by the State Government from time to time, the people will lose confidence in the judicial temple and it should not happen. It is high time for the State Government to raise an occasion to take stringent action against such Officers of the State. Otherwise, there will be no end for such litigations and welfare to the citizens of the State."
Following which it dropped the contempt proceedings subject to deposit of costs of Rs.3,00,000 by the Tahasildars concerned.
Case Title: Parvathamma v. Munish Moudgil & others
Case No: Civil Contempt Petition No 2019 of 2018.
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 510
Date of Order: 29-11-2022
Appearance: Anjan Kumar B N advocate for complainant; K S Arun, HCGP for accused.
Click Here To Read/Download Order