The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the Special District Revenue Officer (SDRO) in Dindigul to conduct a fresh inquiry into the objections raised against acquisition of land to lay the Dindigul-Coimbatore bypass road.

Petitioner S. Palaniammal moved the court stating that she had raised objections to the SDRO against acquiring her land in Oddanchatram for laying the road. She had already constructed a marriage hall in the land after obtaining licence from the Tahsildar of Oddanchatram, she said.

According to Mrs. Palaniammal, the Special Tahsildar for land acquisition conducted an inquiry based on her objections, but passed an order on May 7, 2012 stating that the objection cannot be considered as the land acquisition was approved by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The SDRO, in his counter affidavit, said that the alignment of the project cannot be changed because it was approved by the NHAI.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan, in his judgement, noted that the inquiry was not conducted by the SDRO, who is the competent authority. “Section 3-C of the National Highways Act, 1956 permits only the competent authority to conduct the inquiry. The inquiry, in this case, was conducted by the Special Tahsildar and the report was submitted to the SDRO recommending rejection of the objection. The SDRO failed to conduct the statutory inquiry,” Justice Sasidharan observed in his order.

Therefore, he set aside the impugned order of the SDRO and ordered a fresh inquiry on the petitioner’s objections.

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