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Railway Land Encroachment Menace: Allahabad High Court Issues Slew Of Directions To Railway Authorities

Sparsh Upadhyay
20 Jan 2022 2:16 PM GMT
Railway Land Encroachment Menace: Allahabad High Court Issues Slew Of Directions To Railway Authorities
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"This court perceives encroachment over the Railway land as a menace/hindrance to development which ultimately results in the average Indian citizen being deprived of better amenities and experiences" : Allahabad High Court.

Observing that the railways' administration has miserably failed in its duty to prevent encroachment over its land, the Allahabad High Court today issued a slew of directions to eradicate the menace of encroachment over the Railway land.The Bench of Justice Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava perceived the encroachment over the Railway land as a menace/hindrance to development...

Observing that the railways' administration has miserably failed in its duty to prevent encroachment over its land, the Allahabad High Court today issued a slew of directions to eradicate the menace of encroachment over the Railway land.

The Bench of Justice Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Ashutosh Srivastava perceived the encroachment over the Railway land as a menace/hindrance to development which ultimately results in the average Indian citizen being deprived of better amenities and experiences.

The Court issued the following directions as it observed that it is saddened by the attitude of indifference adopted by the officials of the Indian Railways to keep encroachments under check:

  1. The railways authorities shall immediately issue notice to the occupants of the railways land asking them to vacate the land within three weeks of the notice being served on them.
  2. If the occupants/encroachers fail to vacate the land despite notice having been served, it shall be open to the railway authorities to initiate appropriate action to forcibly dispossess such occupants/encroachers and demolish or remove the unauthorized structures raised by them by taking assistance of the local police force. The Superintendent/Commissioner of Police of the concerned area is expected to ensure that adequate police force is deployed on the site and surrounding areas including protection to the officials/staff engaged in the demolition of the illegal structures and eviction process.
  3. The railways administration is expected to initiate civil/criminal action against the encroachers/unauthorized occupants on the railways properties at the earliest once it is brought to the notice of the concerned official of the railways.
  4. The Railways Administration as also the local administration and the State Government is expected to initiate appropriate action against the erring persons, including the officials of the concerned establishment for allowing and tolerating such encroachment and for not taking corrective action for removal of the encroachment at the right time.
  5. The Railways Administration is also expected to initiate an enquiry to check the veracity of the land boundaries verification register so maintained and if everything is found to be in order, to ascertain as to why no steps were taken to remove the encroachments. The railway administration shall also ensure that no new encroachments are made on the areas that are being cleared by way of the order passed by this Court and ensure that any and every encroachment is duly reported in the land boundaries verification register and the requisite follow up action is taken at the earliest.

The background of the matter

Essentially, the Court was dealing with a plea seeking demolition of the constructions raised on the railway property in Puresoordas, Pargana Jhunsi, Tehsil Phoolpur, District Allahabad (Prayagraj).

The Court was told that the land belonging to the Indian Railways had been encroached upon and despite knowing this fact, no action had been taken by the railway officials to remove the said encroachments.

Against this backdrop, the Court observed that it is mindful of the numerous directions and orders that the Hon'ble Apex Court has passed and in such circumstances, therefore, even though the petitioner had not instituted a PIL, the Court, exercising its extraordinary powers vested in it under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, treated the instant Writ-C, as a Writ PIL and proceeded to entertain the same and issued the abovementioned directions. 

"There is a special enactment which enables the Railways to protect its property i.e. its statutory and public trust obligation. It was open to the concerned authority to invoke the provisions of the special enactment including the Public Premises Act. For that, the Estate Officers should have moved into action in right earnest at the earliest opportunity. Even that option is not being invoked for reasons best known to the authorities. Besides, the Railways maintains a Railway Police Force whose services could be utilized to safeguard the railway property wherever it is situated," the Court observed as it disposed of the plea.
Case title - Anoop Kumar Mishra  State Of U P And 8 Others
Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 18

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment 

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