The Punjab and Haryana High Court has gone on to decide on merits a two decades old case where the petitioners could not be traced; and their counsel was no more alive to argue their case. Even the respondents were not there to assist the court.
In a clear cut case of justice delayed, but not denied, Justice Ranjit Singh directed Punjab Housing Development Board to “furnish the reasons and justification” for enhancing the price of HIG flat allotted to the petitioners.
Taking up the case filed in 1991 by Col Pritam Singh and another Army officer against the Development Board commissioner, Justice Ranjit Singh observed the petition was preferred with addresses mentioning their place of posting.
At that time, Col Pritam Singh was posted at “Headquarters 11 Corps” while the other officer was posted at “MP-B Area, Jabalpur”.
“Both the petitioners were represented by H.R. Bansal, advocate of this Court, who unfortunately is no more,” Justice Ranjit Singh observed.
Going into the background, Justice Ranjit Singh observed the petitioners had challenged the action of demanding enhanced price of HIG flat under the Partial Self-Financing Scheme (HIG) at Garha Road, Jalandhar.
“The writ petition was admitted on December 5, 1991, and the recovery of the enhanced amount as demanded by the Board was stayed…. The notices were also sent to the petitioners, when the Court found that counsel representing them is no more. The notices have been returned back without being served,” the court observed.
“Obviously, the petitioners would now not be serving at the places of their respective posting in the year 1991. There is no other method to reach the petitioners. In this view of the matter, I have decided to take up the writ petition and to decide the same on merits. No one has appeared on behalf of the Board. No reply has also been filed. This has added to the difficulty of this Court to ensure service on the petitioners.