HC vacates order against mortgaging land for ₹1,350 crore loan

Convinced land not part of Pallikaranai marsh

The Madras High Court on Thursday vacated an interim order passed by it on October 1 restraining the registration department from registering a mortgage deed between private firm IG3 Info and a subsidiary of Axis Bank for advancing a loan of ₹1,350 crore. The court vacated the order after being convinced prima facie that the land being mortgaged was a private property and not part of the Pallikaranai marshland as alleged.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam held that Kalamin Agni Sirahugal Trust which had file a public interest litigation petition against the registration appeared to be actually espousing the cause of one of the encroachers of the marshland. The judges also doubted the bonafide of the trust since it had failed to produce the trust deed and list of trustees despite a specific direction issued.

They said that the petitioner trust represented by its secretary M. Senthil Kumar should explain as to how he was able to lay his hands on the photocopies of the documents presented by the IG3 Info for registration as well as the documents related to the title of the properties in question. Only if a satisfactory explanation was offered, could the trust be considered to have filed the present case with real public interest in mind, they added.

‘Patta land’

The judges took note of a counter affidavit filed by the forest department stating that it had recently taken control of around 1,716 acres of Pallikaranai marshland and the property that was the subject of the mortgage deed was not part of the lands handed over to it. Further, the Sholinganallur Tahsildar had made a categorical statement to local Sub Registrar that the lands that were being mortgaged were ‘patta’ lands as per the revenue records.

Authoring the order, Mr. Justice Sathyanarayanan said, a counter affidavit filed by Axis Trustee Service, the subsidiary of Axis Bank, disclosed that it had carried out a thorough research, perused the documents and obtained legal opinion too before coming to the conclusion that IG3 Info possessed a clear title over the property. Only after such scrutiny, the financial institution had agreed to accept it as security for the loan.

Therefore, “this court is of the considered view that no prima facie case has been made out to continue the interim orders already granted and balance of convenience as on today lies in favour of the respondents 12 (IG3 Info) and 13 (Axis Trustee Service). Accordingly, the interim order dated October 1, 2018 is vacated,” the Division Bench ordered. It was of the view that the petitioner lacked the locus standi to the file the case.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 1:04:35 PM |

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