The Madras High Court has restrained the owner of a residential building located in Poes Garden area from demolishing it.

Disposing the tenant’s petition, Justice V. Dhanapalan noted that the petitioner, having failed to pay the arrears of rent, had rushed to the court before conclusion of the trial for eviction as if there was damage to the tenant’s portion of the property in question.

After going through conditions for demolition of existing buildings, the Judge said the legal position would make it clear that Commissioner of Chennai Corporation would grant permission to execute the work subject to the health and safety of the people living within the building. If tenants were living in the building, unless they were evicted, it would not be permissible to execute a work except by due process of law.

However, Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said, “From the number of complaints given by the tenant to the authorities, it is evident that some activities were carried on by the property owner and the property developer. Hence, action initiated by them cannot be allowed at this stage, unless the petitioner is evicted by due process of law.”

Rema Devi is the tenant, occupying the ground floor of the property in Poes Garden, and Govindarajan Venkatesh is the owner.

Following proceedings initiated by Mr. Venkatesh, the Rent Controller fixed the rent at Rs.2.70 lakh per month last year.

Protesting this order, the tenant preferred an appeal and the owner also filed another petition before the civil court praying for an order of eviction against the tenant. Both cases were pending before the civil courts.

Ms. Devi contended that some employees of a property development company came to the first floor which was vacant and started banging the floor as a result of which, a concrete piece fell on the floor of her portion. Despite her complaint to the police, she said the men engaged themselves in all sorts of activities to harass her and her family.

Hence, she filed the present petition seeking to restrain authorities of Chennai Corporation, the property owner and the property developer.

But, it was the stand of the house owner that he never demolished or damaged the building and that the tenant had originally promised to vacate but later, demanded a huge compensation.

The property developer said it had not sent any person to carry out any work.

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