The Madras High Court has dismissed a petition by a hotel on Anna Salai here seeking to forbear official authorities from interfering with its possession of the property and refrain them from taking over any land on the basis that it is Open Space Reservation (OSR) land without following due process of law. In his order, Justice K. Chandru said the writ petition was a clear abuse of the process of court and filed to pre-empt action by the Chennai Corporation.

Apeejay Surendra Park Hotels Ltd. had claimed that seeking transfer of OSR land to the local body without providing for compensation was unconstitutional. It also claimed that seeking to measure the land within its compound and reserving the entire OSR land was done without application of mind. Without any proper notice, the civic body had attempted to demolish the structure to claim OSR land.

The Chennai Corporation stated that the OSR land was gifted to the civic body by S. Balasubramaniam and Gemini Arts Pvt. Ltd, the original owners. The total extent covering seven gift deeds was 1798 sq. metres as OSR lands. An extent of 163 sq.metres of land was taken over by the local body in February 1995.

After the handing over of the land, the Chennai Corporation had become the absolute owner of the OSR land. It alone could develop the land for use by the public. The petitioner was only the subsequent purchaser.

The hotel had encroached on OSR land and put up a cycle stand, sump, sewerage, parking space and blocked the entrance passage by constructing a compound wall with a fountain. Only after noticing the encroachment of the entire OSR land, the corporation had entered the land belonging to it. It had not entered the petitioner's land.

Earlier, the court had ordered status quo. The order came to be extended from time to time. Mr. Justice Chandru said if the petitioner was really the owner of any land, it should have taken action before an appropriate forum. Since its claim had been totally denied and also in the teeth of the gift deeds in favour of the Chennai Corporation, the petitioner's claim could not be countenanced by the court.

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