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No justice even after 65 years

Patna, March 24, 2013 (IANS) 16:41 IST
Justice has remained elusive for over 65 years for nearly 300 litigants over four generations contesting the ownership of a piece of land in Bihar's Bhojpur district.

"Legal heirs of the disputing parties are not sure whether they will get justice or it will be delayed and their fifth generation would have to contest the case," Harishankar Singh, a lawyer in this case said.

The case, relating to the ownership of 14 bighas of land, has been lingering in the district court since April 1947.

"When the case was filed in the Ara civil court, there were only 12 parties to the case. Now 300 heirs of the disputing parties are contesting it," Singh said.
He added that if the fourth generation of the disputing families did not get justice, their fifth generation would continue the fight in court.

Biseshwar Singh, a resident of Ekwana village, had filed the case against Har Govind Rai and 10 others on a dispute over the ownership of land.

Two years after the case was filed, the court passed judgment in favour of the petitioner and a decree was prepared in 1950. The judgment and the decree were then affirmed by an appellate court.

But the defendants appealed against the judgment in Patna High Court. The high court set aside the judgment of the lower court and remanded the case for fresh hearing.
"After that, the case got embroiled in more legal wranglings and has remained unresolved till date," Singh said.

Singh said the main reason for the delay was the deaths of the litigants, after which their names had to be substituted in the case. The case is still pending in court.

In Bihar, about 16.81 lakh civil and criminal cases are pending in subordinate courts.
Bihar Law Minister Narendra Narayan Yadav admitted that a shortage of judges was a big hindrance in early disposal of pending cases.

Earlier, he had said that the state government was taking steps to dispose of land dispute cases and land tribunals had been established for the purpose.

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