An agriculturist has filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court for quashing a patta given to former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and his son, M.K. Alagiri, for 0.53 acres of land in Kattoor village in Tiruvarur district 17 years ago. He alleged that the patta had been issued illegally.

When the case came up on Monday, the First Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal and M. Sathyanarayanan, reserved orders on the petition.

The petitioner, S. Jaganathan (55) of Saliperi post in Tiruvarur district, alleged that Mr. Karunanidhi had purchased the Natham land from one Khader Mohideen on April 8, 1953. (Natham lands are given by the government to the landless poor). Mr. Karunanidhi was holding the land without patta for 46 years. He obtained patta in 1999 when he was in power.

Mr. Jaganathan said a G.O. of the Revenue Department of October 1988 contemplated a ‘Natham Settlement Scheme’ to settle the rights of persons occupying the lands which had been classified as ‘Natham poromboke’. The scheme was completed in the State between 1989 and 1996 except in Tambaram and Ambattur taluks.

As per the natham land settlement notification, the vacant lands in the village should be registered as ‘vacant site poromboke’ in order to use the property for allotting house sites to the landless poor. Therefore, it was clear that in the present case the patta had been issued illegally.