The Madras High Court has upheld the acquisition by the State government of a piece of land at Peerkankaranai, on the city's southern outskirts, under the Tamil Nadu Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, and its allotment to 198 families.
Allowing an appeal preferred by the Tamil Nadu government against a single judge's order, a Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and K.K. Sasidharan, in its judgment said authorities had followed procedure under law. The single judge was not justified in interfering with Urban Land Ceiling proceedings.
M. Nalini was the owner of some agricultural land at Peerkankaranai. Possession of 1750 sq.metres was taken in May 1999 and handed over to the Revenue Department. Thereafter, the land was allotted to the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board in September 2003.
She challenged the acquisition proceedings in a writ petition. Her contention was that notice was not served as contemplated under Tamil Nadu Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Rules. Therefore, the impugned order was in gross violation of principles of natural justice.
The single judge allowed the petition. Aggrieved, the Tamil Nadu government, represented by its Revenue Secretary, filed the present appeal.
The Special Government Pleader submitted that the draft statement and notice were issued in September 1997. Since the owner refused to receive the notice, it was served by affixture in the presence of the VAO. No objections were filed by the land owner. The Bench said the legislation was repealed in June 1999. The land owner (petitioner's mother) was available during pendency of proceedings before the statutory authority. It was evident that the land owner was aware of the final order passed by the competent authority in October 1997, even during her life time. However, for reasons best known to her, the order remained unchallenged.
When the proceedings had ended and the property was taken possession of even prior to the repeal of the legislation, there was nothing to be agitated thereafter. It was not the land owner's case that she was not aware of the statutory proceedings. The respondent had stated in her affidavit that notice was fixed on a stick in the vacant land and formalities completed were not as per the statute.
The Bench held that no justifiable reason was made out to interfere in the proceedings and set aside the single's judge's order.