High Court orders officials to maintain status quo

The Madras High Court Bench here has ordered notice to the Tuticorin district administration on a writ filed alleging that the officials proposed to evict 225 marginalised families from the land they had inhabited for over six decades.

The Bench also ordered officials to maintain status quo, restraining them from evicting the families from Selvanayagapuram colony.

The petitioner, K. Natarajan, president of the Selvanayagapuram colony welfare association, claimed that the residents of the area belonged to the Arunthathiyar community and were living there for over 60 years.

Their welfare association was formed and registered in 1975 and the residents had given repeated representations to the Tuticorin corporation commissioner seeking patta for their lands, he said in his petition.

Mr Natarajan said that, besides the 225 families, around 72 sanitary workers employed in the corporation also lived in the houses owned by the corporation in Selvanayagapuram.

According to him, the corporation authorities had decided to demolish the houses of the sanitary workers.

“The corporation commissioner and the revenue officials visited our area and asked us to vacate the premises immediately. Or else, they said, they would demolish our houses as well. We are now living under the apprehension that our houses might be demolished at any time”, he contended in his petition. On May 4, 2013 and May 29, 2013, the petitioner sent representations to the district collector seeking patta and requesting him not to evict the members of the association from Selvanayagapuram, he told the court through his counsel.

No reply

However, the officials failed to reply, prompting him to move the court.

In his petition, he pleaded that directions should be issued to the district administration not to evict them, and to provide them with patta.

A division bench comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and P. Devadass ordered notice to the district administration, also ordered status quo be maintained and adjourned the case by two weeks.

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