Expressing shock, a Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta termed the issue “serious”
Kasauli firing: SC takes suo motu cognisance of murder of govt official, lambastes HP govt for inadequate security
The Hush Post: The Supreme Court today took suo motu cognisance of the firing incident in Kasauli where a woman assistant town and country planning officer was allegedly shot dead by a hotel owner on Tuesday. The victim, Shailwala Sharma, assistant town and country planner, Solan, was a part of the team which was executing the apex court-ordered demolition drive.
Expressing shock, a Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta termed the issue “serious” and slammed the Himachal Pradesh government for not providing adequate security to the woman official who was performing her duty in compliance with the order of the highest court. The apex court also questioned as to what was the police team accompanying the lady officer doing when she was shot at.
Seeking a complete report from the state government, the Bench said the matter be placed before Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for assigning it before an appropriate bench on May 3. The top court said that if such incidents continue unabated, it will be forced to pass orders.
Meanwhile, counsel for the Himachal government told the Bench that the accused had fled the scene after firing at the government officials. Assistant Town and Country Planner Shailbala Sharma had on Tuesday gone to seal unauthorised constructions in Kasauli’s Narayani Guest House where its owner Vijay Singh allegedly shot at her. She later succumbed to injuries. A PWD official was also injured during the incident.
The Supreme Court had on April 17 directed the state government to demolish unauthorised structures in 13 hotels in Kasauli and Dharampur areas of Solan, and four teams were constituted for this purpose. The apex court had observed that the illegal encroachment had endangered the entire town, causing landslides. It also observed that the lives of people there can’t be be put to risk in order to mint money.
“You just demolish it (unauthorised constructions). What is going on? You are admitting that you were supposed to make only a two-storeyed building. There was a landslide in your premises and you did nothing. You are putting people in danger. For what? Money,” the bench observed, while hearing the plea filed by one of the hotels.
“You demolish it. You are admitting that there are unauthorised constructions,” the bench observed and directed the authorities concerned to demolish it. When one of the counsel referred to an apex court order in a matter related to Manali in Himachal Pradesh, the bench said, “Either you demolish it (unauthorised constructions) or we will ask the authorities to demolish it. It is your choice. No instructions are needed. Let the authorities demolish it.”
The top court’s order supported the decision of the National Green Tribunal that had sought demolition of structures which were temporary including Bird’s View Resort, Hotel Pine View, Narayani Guest House, Hotel Neelgiri, Hotel Divshikha and AAA Guest House.