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High court stays govt order

Cuttack, Dec. 18: Orissa High Court on Monday stayed a revenue department notification, making it mandatory for land-holders to file appeals to the board of revenue court to redress land disputes.

The court acted on a PIL, which called the notification “illegal”, as it encroached upon statutory provisions of existing laws. Himanshu Choudhury, a lawyer had filed the PIL. Chief Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly also issued notices to the government asking it to file a reply to the petition by January and posted the matter for further hearing.

The petitioner had appealed that the notification be quashed, as it made the process cumbersome and costly.

Previously, the jurisdiction was vested with a commissioner or with joint-commissioners to decide such cases. The petitioner stated that the new system reduced the appellate powers of the commissioners and joint-commissioners.

“The government promises to take justice to the doorsteps, but forces litigants to come to Cuttack and engage lawyers to file their appeals,” the prtitioner stated.

“That’s not all the government then forces the litigants to wait till the appeal is sent to the court of joint-commissioner and engage another lawyer,” the petitioner counsel argued.

But, the notification issued by the revenue department on November 15 made it mandatory for litigants to file their appeals to the court of the board of revenue.

The board was empowered to register the appeals and then sent them to the commissioners and joint-commissioners court, according to the particulars. Besides, the board was empowered to recall any cases at any point.

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