Sahara can set up temporary fencing, says SC

New Delhi/Lucknow, June 25 In A major relief to the Sahara India Commercial Corporation Limited (SICCL), the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed it to restore the temporary fence at the disputed Sahara Shahar site in Lucknow, which was allegedly demolished by the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA).
Modifying its earlier status quo order passed on June 23, the vacation Bench comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and G S Singhvi, however, let off the Mayawati government on a contempt charge brought against it by Sahara.
The court appointed senior counsel L Nageshwar Rao as the special officer who would oversee the work on restoring the tin fencing on June 28-29 and submit his report to the Registrar of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.
The Bench also disposed a contempt petition filed against Sahara by the LDA. “It would not be in the interest of the parties to keep the matter pending, as it would only delay the matter and lead to other proceedings in this court,” the apex court said.
Sahara had filed a contempt petition on Tuesday after LDA razed a temporary fence at Sahara Shahar on June 23, within hours of the apex court ordering a status quo in the matter. LDA too had moved the apex court, blaming SICCL of violating the order.
The Bench also set aside the interim order passed by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on June 19 and 20 that restrained LDA from demolishing the property and had also directed LDA to restore possession of the land to SICCL. The apex court said the parties will maintain status quo existing from June 23.
“In our view, the status quo order should supplement the interim order passed by the High Court with certain modifications…. As the fencing was removed, SICCL will be entitled to restore the fencing in place where the boundary wall originally existed under the supervision of the special officer appointed by us,” the Bench said.
While disposing the two contempt petitions filed by SICCL and LDA against each other and the appeal filed by the UP government, the apex court made it clear that it had not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case. It also directed them not to seek unnecessary adjournments in the High Court so that the matter is disposed of with “utmost expediency.”
Meanwhile, heads have started rolling in UP after the Supreme Court order on LDA’s demolition drive, with the government removing Principal Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department Harminder Raj Singh from his position. It also replaced Vice-Chairman of the Lucknow Development Authority Ram Bahadur and LDA Joint Secretary Yogesh Kumar Shukla.
A government spokesperson said V Rajgopalan from the Small Scale Industries Department has replaced Harminder Singh. Singh has been now posted as Member (Judicial) of the Revenue Board.
On the other hand, SUD director Mukesh Meshram will succeed Ram Bahadur. Bahadur will now be Additional Commissioner of Moradabad. Yogesh Shukla has been posted as Deputy Director of Consolidation, Ghazipur.
The spokesperson also said Ashish Kumar Goyal, Special Secretary in the Rural Development department, has been made the District Magistrate of Chitrakoot, replacing Anamika Singh who has been made Additional Secretary, Agriculture Production Commission.
The present BSP regime has seen three principal secretaries (Housing) while the LDA vice-chairman has been changed seven times in the last one year.
Soon after Mayawati took charge on May 13 last year, she suspended the then LDA vice-chairman B B Singh for being lax on the maintenance of Ambedkar Park. Mohinder Singh replaced B B Singh but he lasted 12 days.
Singh was followed by Harbhajan Singh, then came Anurag Srivastava, Kishan Singh Atoria, N S Ravi and lastly Ram Bahadur who was replaced by Mahesh Kumar Meshram today.
Posted online: Thursday , June 26, 2008 at 03:34:05Updated: Thursday , Express News Service
June 26, 2008 at 03:34:05
http://www.expressindia.com

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