The Orissa High Court has directed that the salaries of Collector Angul and two other senior officers of the district administration shall not be released till payment of compensation to the people whose land was acquired in 1961.
The division bench ofJustices Dr. Bidyut Ranjan Sarangi and Biraja Prasanna Satapathy passed the order on January 16 and further said that "only on payment ofcompensation, if any application is filed that the petitioners have been paid their compensation, then release of salary of the concerned officers shall be considered by this Court."
Besides Angul Collector, the salaries of Land Acquisition Officer, Angul and Chief Development Officer-cum-Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad, Angul have also been ordered to be withheld.
The petitioners' land was acquired by the government way back in 1961, but no compensation was released in their favour since then. Despite making several representations, no action was taken in this regard. Therefore, they were constrained to file a writ petition before the High Court in 2013 for necessary action.
The Court on January 06 had summoned Collector, Angul. However, the Chief Development Officer-cum-Executive Officer, Zilla Parishad, Angul appeared on behalf of the Collector as the latter was said to be suffering from an illness.
However, the court noted that the Collector in an affidavit has taken "a different stand".
"But we are not convinced with such a stand taken by him. In any case, ... the compensation amount has not been paid to the petitioners till date, even though the writ petition was filed in the year 2013 and in the meantime more than 10 years have passed, and that the lands were acquired in the year 1961 and in the meantime more than 60 years have passed," said the court, while passing an order for withholding the salaries of the officers.
Case Title: Pramod Kumar Pradhan v. Principal Secretary, Water Resources Department, Bhubaneswar and others
Case No.: W.P.(C) No. 28354 of 2013 & CONTC No. 5149 of 2022