Orissa High Court orders Tahasildar to plant 50 trees for fining woman without proper hearing

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has ordered Kakatpur Tahasildar Biranchi Narayan Behera to plant at least 50 trees in any sector of CDA area in Cuttack as a punishment over the official’s decision of imposing fine on an illiterate woman of Balana mouza without hearing her properly.

“This Court directs the Tahasildar to at least plant 50 numbers of tree needed to be planted in road side in any sector in the C.D.A. area in the involvement of Cuttack Development Authority,” the single-judge bench of Justice Biswanath Rath said in its order dated 18.05.2022.

Tahasildar Behera had imposed fine on the woman namely Mita Das in September last year for building a thatched house on a patch of government land.

Das had moved the High Court alleging that the official imposed fine on her without hearing her and declared her an encroacher.

“Looking to the nature of the case and for involvement of eviction of a person from his residence, the Tahasildar has a responsibility to find whether the encroacher is an educated and law knowing person or not. Further, the Tahasildar has to see the encroacher if belongs to weaker section or person downtrodden in the society having not even sufficient income to take aid of counsel,” the court said.

“Finding bizarre disposal of proceeding under Section 7 of the O.P.L.E. Act by the Tahasildar, this Court directs copy of this order be communicated to the Principal Secretary, Revenue & Disaster Management Department and Principal Secretary to Law Department for making an endeavour through the Tahasildars being the original authority under the Act not to repeat such mistakes thereby restricting unnecessary loading of cases to the High Court involving such unnecessary litigation,” the court added.

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