“There is nothing wrong with appearing by video conference,” the Supreme Court said Thursday to the secretary of the defense ministry, who has been invited to appear before the Madhya Pradesh High Court in a contempt case related to a question of land compensation.
The higher court heard the plea filed by Secretary of Defense Ajay Kumar requesting the stay of the High Court order of August 18 ordering him to appear before it in a contempt case Thursday by video conference.
He was informed that the High Court had adjourned the case for a week.
“List the case after two weeks,” said the order of a court composed of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, who observed orally, “there is no wrong to appear by videoconference “.
Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, who appeared for the Secretary of Defense, argued that the matter is not even remotely related to the officer.
“The whole case is pending with the benchmark court to rule on the compensation claim. How can the amount be disbursed without ruling,” he said.
He said the High Court had, without going into the facts and circumstances of the case, ordered the Secretary of the Defense Ministry to appear in the case.
He added that the whole question concerning the judgment on compensation is therefore already pending before the Court of Reference and that it would therefore not be useful to call the Secretary of Defense for an explanation.
The dispute in the case arose after the central government, on May 6, 2016, issued a notice imposing restrictions, specified under the provisions of the Defense Works Act, 1903, on the use and use of land located near the military station of Sukhlalpur, in the Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh.
The High Court, while ruling on written petitions filed by some aggrieved persons, had ordered in 2017 to take appropriate steps to determine damages and the payment of damages due to the imposition of restrictions on l use of land within six months.
The plea filed by the Secretary of Defense, through attorney Sachin Sharma, said the injured parties had filed three frivolous contempt motions in the High Court.
He stated that they declared to the High Court by affidavit that the order sought to be complied with belonged primarily to the collector, for in accordance with the requirement of the Defense Works Act, 1903 ( WODA), it is the power to determine the amount of compensation.
The petition stated that upon reading the various affidavits filed with the High Court in contempt petitions by any stretch of the imagination, “it cannot be interpreted that there is willful disobedience to any of the orders made by the courtyard”.
He said the petitioners informed the court of every action taken by the collector, who is the ultimate authority to pay compensation to affected parties and that the impugned order dated August 18 is not sustainable in the eyes of the collector. the law.
“It should be mentioned that the delay in the disbursement of the compensation to the respondents is attributable only to the acquisition of the land to be collected which did not commit one but three times an error in the calculation of the compensation and then revised the same, “says the plea.
He added that when the final calculation was made by the collector’s order dated September 27, 2019, the same was challenged by the petitioner in the benchmark court under section 18 of the WODA.
It is further argued that “even the acquisition of collector land was confused between the provisions of the WODA, the Land Acquisition Act and the 2013 Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency Act. land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement “.
On November 13, 2018, collector (land acquisition) Jabalpur, without entering into the fact that this proceeding was governed by the Work of Defense Act and not by the Land Acquisition Act, wrongly made an initial award of over Rs 10 crores.
On January 25, 2019, Collector (Land Acquisition) Jabalpur, while correcting the foregoing calculation, erroneously allocated more than six crore rupees without applying the provisions of the Works and Defense Act. On September 27, 2019, the collector without entering into the facts and circumstances of the case and contrary to the criteria provided for by the law on defense works, again recalculated the amount of the compensation by almost Rs two crores.
On July 31, 2020, the Ministry of Defense being aggrieved by the recalculation carried out by the Collector of nearly Rs two crores contrary to the provisions of the law on defense works, filed a request before the competent forum.
This case was referred on August 17, 2020 by the tax collector to the district judge / referral court for a ruling on the question relating to the determination of the amount of compensation.
However, the High Court on August 18, while hearing a contempt motion, asked the Secretary of Defense and others to appear before it on October 8 to explain the situation.