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HPCA’s charge against Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh backed by SC

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Three officials along with Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh were accused of land grabbing © Getty Images (Representational Photo)

New Delhi: Mar 15, 2014

 

The Supreme Court has asked theHimachal Pradesh High Court  to reconsider a plea by the state cricket body led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Anurag Thakur to implead Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and three government officials in a land case.

A division bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice J. Chelameswar  set aside the high court January 8 order rejecting as “misconceived” the application of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) to implead the chief minister and others in the case.

“We deem it proper to set aside the order under appeal and call upon the high court to examine afresh after affording an opportunity to all the parties concerned and dispose it,” the apex court observed.

The high court had earlier wondered why the petitioners (including the HPCA) filed another motion for arraying non-applicants as party-respondents.

The HPCA then moved the apex court, challenging the high court’s decision.

The HPCA alleged that the entire government machinery under the influence of the chief minister, in a midnight swoop Oct 26 last year, forcibly evicted the HPCA from the Dharamsala stadium.

The government, however, said its decision to cancel the lease and to take control of the HPCA’s properties was withdrawn by it November 18 last year, and on account of this development, most of the prayers in the writ petition have become infructuous.

The government also submitted that the chief minister and others, including Director General of Police Sanjay Kumar, were not necessarily parties as they were not concerned with the matter in their personal capacities.

Earlier, the high court had indicted the government for forcible eviction of the HPCA from its stadium and ordered restoration of possession to it.

The court then ordered status quo ante with respect to the cabinet decision over the properties.

“The orders of forcible dispossession are against law, constitutional guarantee and obligations of the state to its citizens as a person in settled possession of premises cannot be dispossessed by an executive fiat, even though he can be stated as a trespasser,” the high court bench had observed.

The state Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau in August last year filed a cheating and misappropriation case against the HPCA over alleged wrongdoing in allotment of land to the sports body for constructing a residential complex for players near its stadium in Dharamsala, 250 km from Delhi.

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