Last November, Chennai Collector directed hotel to surrender premises

The Supreme Court has quashed the order passed by a Division Bench of the Madras High Court directing demolition of Buhari Hotel and other constructions on Poonamallee High Road, opposite Central Railway station, for the Chennai Metro Rail project.

A single judge of the High Court in November 2012 had set aside the orders of the Chennai Collector and the Vepery Tahsildar passed in May and June last year directing all traders, including owners of Buhari Hotel, to vacate their premises and surrender the same for the project. However, a Division Bench reversed this order. The present appeal by Buhari and others are directed against this order dated June 25.

A Bench of Justices J.S. Khehar and Pinaki Chandra Ghose said: “Having heard both sides at some length, we are prima facie of the view that the lease holders should have been put to notice and should have been afforded an opportunity to respond before any detrimental action could be taken against them, whereby their civil rights would be severely affected.”

“Keeping in view the manner in which issues came to be canvassed before us, Mr. Mohan Parasaran states that the State of Tamil Nadu would now issue notices inviting all the stakeholders liable to be affected by adverse orders, an opportunity to respond to the reasons which have weighed with the State government to evict them from the premises in question.”

The Bench, while permitting the State to issue fresh notices, said all the appellants would be at liberty to approach the District Collector, Chennai, and collect the notice from him and respond on or before August 16. The determination thereon one way or the other should be rendered by the appropriate authority within one week thereafter.

It said, “In case any of the appellants are to be adversely affected, a well reasoned speaking order will be passed taking into consideration all the issues canvassed in response to the show cause notice. Likewise, the appellants would be at liberty to obtain the final order passed in the matter on or after September 30 from the Collector’s office.”

“In order to enable the appellants to avail of the remedy in accordance with law, the State of Tamil Nadu shall not adversely affect the position in which the appellants are presently placed for two weeks after passing the said speaking order. In case the appellants wish to avail of a remedy, it shall be open to them to approach the Madras High Court.”

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