Says reason was invented only to evict Tamil scholar

The Madras High Court has set aside an order of the Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) issued last September rejecting the request of a Tamil scholar to renew the lease of his quarters in Tower Block at Kilpauk here.

In his order allowing a petition by Tamilaruvi Manian, Justice K. Chandru said that a “reason was invented only for the purpose of evicting the petitioner, who has become an eyesore to the present government.”

The Judge observed: “On top of the headquarters building of the Tamil Nadu Housing Board, they have put up a huge neon billboard prominently displaying the slogan ‘Tamizh Vaazhga' (Long Live Tamil.) If that has to be translated into a reality, they must honour Tamil writers, scholars, thinkers (like the petitioner) in spite of their ideological predilections, and not deprive them of their only abode on untenable grounds. Tamil will live only by protecting the Tamil thinkers. Then only the slogans displayed on neon lights can glitter more and hopes exhibited can translate into ‘concrete' reality.”

The petitioner stated that was allotted an apartment under the Taylors Road scheme in January 2007. He scrupulously followed allotment conditions. Renewal was never insisted in the subsequent years, 2008 and 2009.

Only from the show-cause notice dated April 6, 2009 did he come to know that the original allotment was for 11 months lease. He was singled out for eviction only because “of his views expressed in writings on current political affairs through his articles published in various Tamil weeklies and bi-weeklies.”

Provoked by such articles, the Chairman, TNHB, “in order to oblige his political master, had issued the show-cause notice.” Several others, who were occupying the quarters under the public quota system, continued to reside for a number of years without any further renewal of lease and without similar condition being insisted upon to evict them.

The TNHB Chairman said the allegation of mala fide was not correct. The petitioner was allotted quarters by converting the public quota as a special case in terms of a G.O. dated December 6, 2006. The petitioner was bound by the terms of the lease. The petitioner had been inducted as a Member of the Tamil Nadu Planning Commission at that time.

Mr. Justice Chandru said the apartment was specifically allotted under the public quota. Therefore, the allotment was lawful. The TNHB had not insisted upon such renewal for other similarly placed allottees. The petitioner himself had been allowed to continue for two years without renewal. The board's stand seemed to be diabolical. In the case of the petitioner, they had invented a ground for eviction. The petitioner's allegations were supported by queries by him under the RTI Act.