‘Detrimental To Interest Of Inhabitants Of Village’: Punjab & Haryana High Court Quashes Govt Order For Exchange Of Gram Panchayat Land

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Case Title: Baljit Singh v. State of Punjab & Ors

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE RAJAN GUPTA HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE KARAMJIT SINGH

Case No: CWP-16613-2020

Case observation: “The Gram Panchayat of the village being democratically elected by the inhabitants of the village is under a duty to watch the interest of the inhabitants of the village,” observed the Punjab and Haryana High Court last month while setting aside Resolutions passed by the Gram Panchayat as well as the decision of the State Government, according to its approval for exchange of land belonging to the Gram Panchayat with that of a private developer.

“It was necessary for the Gram Panchayat to apply its mind and to satisfy itself that the exchange in question is for the benefit of the inhabitants of the village, however, no such satisfaction was recorded by it while passing the impugned resolutions.

The land which the Gram Panchayat intends to give to respondent No.9 by way of exchange has got much more commercial and industrial potential than the land which the Gram Panchayat will get in exchange.”

“In lieu of the said land, he would get the prime land abutting 200 feet wide PR-9 road, having high commercial and industrial potential. The entire process of exchange of land smacks of mala fide as its real purpose is to give benefit to the colonizer/developer who would later on sell the same in the shape of plots/flats/houses at exorbitant rates. … The Gram Panchayat land is highly valuable being useful for industrial as well as commercial purpose, as compared to the land which the Gram Panchayat would get in its exchange from the private developer.”

“As per the respondents, the land of the Gram Panchayat, which was sought to be given in exchange to respondent Nos. 9 and 10 has got certain disadvantages/limitations…We are of the view that the above discussed encumbrances/limitations would pass over to respondent No.9, at the time of the proposed exchange. It means that respondent No.9 would get the exchanged land along with aforesaid encumbrances. So, respondent No.9 would be having same disadvantages qua the said land, which are presently faced by the Gram Panchayat.

The respondents have failed to explain as to how a private developer has become interested in exchange of land, in case, it is not beneficial for him.” “In view of the fact that 200 feet wide PR-9 road has divided the Panchayat land into two parts, we find that the same has increased the potential value of the said land which is now abutting both sides of the road leading to Mohali International Airport.

So, the plea taken by the respondents that the utility and value of land belonging to Gram Panchayat were diminished due to construction of PR-9 road, which divided it into two parts, appears to be totally misplaced and could not be accepted.”


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