Tah­sil­dar fined for raz­ing houses be­fore time

A PWD em­ployee too pe­nalised; both asked to pay `50,000 com­pen­sa­tion each to the pe­ti­tion­ers

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A di­vi­sion bench of the Madras High Court has di­rected a tah­sil­dar and a staff of PWD to pay a com­pen­sa­tion of `50,000 each to the pe­ti­tion­ers, al­leged to be en­croach­ers, for de­mol­ish­ing their houses much be­fore the ex­piry of the no­tice pe­riod.

A bench of Jus­tices K K Sasid­ha­ran and R Subra­ma­nian awarded the com­pen­sa­tion, while pass­ing in­terim or­ders on a writ pe­ti­tion from T N Bal- akr­ish­nan, G Kavitha and P An­barasan of Gudu­vanch­ery.

The bench di­rected both Tah­sil­dar Bhagyalak­shmi and PWD em­ployee Bras­nev, who brought the ma­chine for de­mo­li­tion of the house of An­barasan to pay the com­pen­sa­tion by Oc­to­ber 17.

“You are pub­lic ser­vants and you are paid salary from pub­lic funds. How can you de­mol­ish the house even be­fore the ex­piry of the no­tice pe­riod? What are you think­ing? Are you above the law? It is not a Jun­gle Raj. You of­fi­cials have to face the mu­sic,” the bench told the duo when they ap­peared be­fore the bench on Fri­day last, as di­rected ear­lier.

Even as­sum­ing that the pe­ti­tion­ers are en­croach­ers, the ac­tion has to be taken only as per law. Where they will go? Shall we ask them to stay in your houses?, the bench asked.

Ac­cord­ing to pe­ti­tion­ers they were liv­ing with their fam­i­lies in the place in ques­tion for about four decades. They were reg­u­larly pay­ing prop­erty and other taxes. They ap­plied for patta in 2006. Fol­low­ing a di­rec­tive from the High Court, they have been hop­ing to re­ceive the pat­tas. How­ever, without ap­pre- ciat­ing the ma­te­rial placed, the tah­sil­dar and the as­sis­tant PWD engi­neer, both be­long­ing to Chen­gal­pattu, slapped a no­tice on Septem­ber 27 giv­ing them 21 days to va­cate their premises.

How­ever, their houses were com­pletely de­mol­ished even be­fore the ex­piry of the 21 days, they con­tended.

“Even as­sum­ing that the pe­ti­tion­ers are en­croach­ers, how can their houses be de mol­ished,” the bench asked and or­dered pay­ment of com­pen­sa­tion.

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