The Madras High Court Bench here has disposed of a batch of writs objecting to government's bid to acquire land for the construction of a railway overbridge near Tirunelveli, with directions to the petitioners to approach the Collector.

Eight writs were filed at the court challenging an impugned notification issued by the Tirunelveli Collector on February 7, 2012. The notification proposed to acquire land from the public to construct an overbridge at Seidunganallur across the National Highway 7. Explanations were sought from the land owners as to why their lands should not be acquired.

The petitioners moved the court claiming that the government has not complied with the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Highways Act, 2001. The highways authority should have published a draft of the notification on the construction of the overbridge, the petitioners contended.

A single judge issued notice to the Tirunelveli Collector. In his counter-affidavit, the Collector said that he was prepared to consider the objections of the land owners during the course of the inquiry.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan, in his order, noted that the only objection made by the petitioners was regarding the violation of the Act. “The notification under challenge is essentially a notice calling upon the land owners to submit their objections as to why their lands should not be acquired. The petitions are premature,” the judge observed.

“The Collector should be given reasonable time to conduct an inquiry,” he ruled and issued directions to the petitioners to submit their objections before the Collector.

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