Prayagraj (The Hawk): K. Vijayendra Pandian, a former district magistrate in Gorakhpur, has been fined Rs. 5 lakh by the Allahabad High Court for what the court deemed to be "malicious" behaviour in using the Goonda Act against a petitioner and "harassing" him regarding his disputed property.
A division bench made up of Justices Suneet Kumar and Syed Waiz Mian heard a case submitted by Kailash Jaiswal and overturned the notice the Gorakhpur district government had issued invoking the Goonda Act against the petitioner.
In addition, the court ordered Pandian, an IAS official from the 2008 batch, to be the subject of an investigation by the Uttar Pradesh government.
The petitioner was allegedly being forced to cede the in-dispute property in favour of the district administration by the district administration.
In its ruling, the High Court noted that in order for clause I of section 2(b) of the Goonda Act to be applicable, there must be mention of at least two instances of criminal activity.
However, the judge observed, the notice simply makes reference to one occurrence.
"Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, prima facie, we are convinced that the proceedings initiated against the petitioner are not only malicious but to harass him in regard to the property in dispute which admittedly vests with the petitioner lawfully," the court added in passing the aforementioned directive.
(Inputs from Agencies)