Breather for Noida CEO as CJI agrees to hear plea against HC’s arrest order

Chief Justice of India NV Ramana has agreed to hear the matter involving Noida authority CEO Ritu Maheshwari in a contempt of court case concerning a land acquisition matter.

After the Supreme Court on Monday refused to give any interim relief and stay the non-bailable warrant issued by the Allahabad High Court against Maheshwari, it granted relief to her on Tuesday. The SC stayed the proceedings in Allahabad HC.

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The Supreme Court bench has agreed to list her appeal against the Allahabad High Court order on Wednesday. The HC had ordered that Ritu Maheshwari to be arrested and produced before the court in a contempt case.

Appearing for Maheshwari, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi pressed for staying the warrant, saying: “The case has to be heard at length as contempt is not made out against the CEO in the land acquisition case.”

Hearing the case on Monday, the CJI had said, “You are an IAS officer. You know the rules. Every day, we see from Allahabad High Court, there’s a breach of orders. It is routine. Every day, one or the other has to come and seek permission. What is this? You don’t respect the orders of the court.”

The arrest order was issued in response to a contempt plea filed by one Manorama Kuchhal and another person whose land had been acquired by Noida in 1990 without following any procedure as contemplated in law. Challenging the acquisition, they had moved the high court by way of filing a writ plea.

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The plea was allowed by the Allahabad High Court and it had quashed the land acquisition notifications. While allowing the writ petition of the applicants, the Court had deprecated the conduct of Noida authorities in taking over the property and changing the nature of the property by illegally constructing on the plot.

Further, the HC had directed Noida to determine the compensation of disputed land at twice market value in accordance with provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, and pay the same to petitioners within three months.

However, this order was not complied with by the authorities, and therefore, the petitioners moved the instant contempt plea and IAS officer Ritu Maheshwari, being the CEO of Noida was impleaded in the contempt matter.

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