District administration has been asked to return a property belonging to a litigant, after he paid the abkari dues

The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the Ramanathapuram district administration to return a property belonging to a litigant, after he paid the abkari dues amounting to Rs 13,221 his father owed the State.

The petitioner, S. Vijayamarthandam, claimed that that his father’s house worth Rs 13,221 was attached to the State on November 29, 1951 after he failed to pay the abkari dues.

The petitioner had filed a petition in the court in 2009 to retrieve the property. A single judge had dismissed the petition citing that he had moved the court after a prolonged delay.

In his appeal, the petitioner contended that his father’s property was not sold till date and that he was willing to pay the dues his father owed the State in order to retrieve the house.

The special government pleader argued that the attached property was worth Rs 8,32,340 as on today’s market value. The petitioner should pay the dues, based on today’s market value, to get back the property, he contended.

A division bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and P. Devadass ruled that the single judge’s order was liable to be set aside because the property was not transferred to any third party till date.

“No further proceeding was initiated after the attachment order. Even today the attached property stands in the name of the litigant’s father. The litigant, being the legal heir to his father, is entitled to file the petition even today”, they observed in their order.

Relying on the judgements of the Supreme Court, the judges directed the Ramanathapuram Collector to return the property to the petitioner after he pays Rs 13,221 with 24 per cent interest calculated from 1951.

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