HC allows wife to continue war hero's battle for government land

Updated: Feb 10, 2020, 07:39 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Hindurao Ingale died without getting justice; now the court has allowed his wife to pursue contempt case against state govt for denying him land

Hindurao Ingale
Hindurao Ingale

There is a ray of hope for the family of a war veteran who died last year waiting for justice. The Bombay High Court (HC) has accepted a contempt proceeding against the state for not following its 2018 order to allot residential land and farmland to 1971 Indo-Pak war veteran, Hindurao Ingale.

Ingale had moved a contempt of court proceeding in June 2019 at the HC against the Satara collector and state revenue secretary for not providing him a parcel of land as per a Government Resolution (GR) of 1971.

A division bench of Justice K K Tated and Sarang Kotwal heard the matter where it was requested that Ingale's widow Mantabai, be allowed to continue with the contempt proceeding as a beneficiary. The HC has given the state and Satara Collector two weeks to respond.

Hindurao Ingale with his wife and family at his home in Satara. File pics
Hindurao Ingale with his wife and family at his home in Satara. File pics

The case
Ingale breathed his last on August 25, 2019 at the age of 74 at his home in Hingnole village, Satara district. He had served as a driver in the 1971 Indo-Pak war and had been fighting to secure a small piece of land promised under the 1971 GR.

The HC had found Ingale eligible for agricultural land and a plot for a house and had directed the state to hand it to him in its February 2018 verdict on Ingale's writ petition filed in April 2015.

"When I am being made to run from courts to government offices despite being a war-injured soldier, who had fought enemies in the 1971 war, what will the government do for my wife after my demise?" Hindurao Ingale had said in June 2019.

Hindurao Ingale with his wife and family at his home in Satara

"Two days before his death, he was telling me that he was worried about me. I ignored him, but today when he is no more, and with no source of income and two jobless, drunkard sons, I am lonely and clueless," Mantabai, Hindurao's wife, had told mid-day soon after his demise.

"My husband was a soldier who sustained bullet injuries for the country. After four-and-a-half decades of fighting, the Bombay High Court passed an order in our favour but the state machinery ensured that we never got justice," Mantabai had said.

Advocate Rajeshwar Panchal, who is appearing pro-bono for the family, said, "Considering the benefits to which Ingale was entitled under the GR, the court prima facie was of the view that there was no compliance of the February 27, 2018, order by the Satara Collector and the state government. The GR clearly mandates allotment of either five acres of irrigated land or 10 acres of non-irrigated land."

The Satara Collector had allotted him five acres of non-irrigated land which Ingale had refused to accept as the ground reality was different from what he was told. Apart from being non-irrigated, the land was also disputed. Moreover, the Collector failed to allot another three guntas for a house.

"Our contempt plea has been accepted by the HC and the Assistant Government Pleader (AGP), who represented the Respondent (collector, Satara and state government), has been asked to file an affidavit. The AGP told the HC that the 2018 order has been complied with, which I objected to as an utter lie. The court then asked for an affidavit. The matter will be heard on February 28 next."

The contempt plea
Panchal has stated that Ingale is entitled to four hectares of dry crop or jirayat land, or two hectares of seasonally-irrigated or paddy land, or one hectare of perennially-irrigated or bagayat land and a residential plot admeasuring up to 300 square metre.

Ingale had requested for land in districts adjoining his own, such as Pune Rural, Ahmednagar or Nashik as the GR did not mention granting land in the district of the soldier's residence.

April 2015
When Hindurao Ingale filed a writ petition for land

February 28
Day of next hearing

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