Tamil Nadu

SASTRA buildings on govt. land to remain under symbolic control of HC till disposal of case

The court’s symbolic control over the buildings would in no way disturb the stay of the students in the hostels or their studies in the institution, the judges said.

The court’s symbolic control over the buildings would in no way disturb the stay of the students in the hostels or their studies in the institution, the judges said.

The Madras High Court on Monday ordered that the buildings constructed on 31.37 acres of government land being occupied by Shanmuga Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA), a deemed university in Thanjavur, for over three decades, shall now remain under the symbolic custody of the High Court till the disposal of a case filed by the institution against the government’s refusal to assign the lands to it.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala made it clear that the symbolic control over the buildings would in no way disturb the stay of the students in the hostels or their studies in the institution. Initially, the judges intended to give the symbolic control to the Collector. However, they changed their mind after senior counsel P.H. Arvindh Pandian, appearing for the university, feared interference by the government.

The judges further directed Additional Advocate General J. Ravindran to file an affidavit along with supporting documents and sketches on August 24, to prove his assertion that a portion of the government land under the occupation of the university had been classified as a water course. The AAG told the court that the university would not be entitled to the benefit of exchange of lands, since a portion of the encroached land was a water course.

Senior counsel G. Rajagopal, also representing SASTRA, said that if the State government was adamant and not willing to consider the latest representation made by the university to grant it the benefit of a Government Order issued on May 10 this year for exchange of lands with private higher education institutions, he would argue the writ petition filed by the university against the refusal to assign the lands, on merits.

On the other hand, Mr. Ravindran told the court that whenever government officials attempted to evict the poor, who had encroached upon 50 to 100 sq. ft. of government land for residential purposes, the encroachers insisted on evicting SASTRA first. “They tell us to first remove the 31 acres of encroachment by SASTRA, and then come to them. We are unable to answer them. That is the precarious situation we are facing,” he said.

However, Mr. Pandian denied that any part of the 31.37 acres was a water course, and said he could prove it. After hearing them out, the judges directed the AAG to produce the documents and sketches to show the exact extent of land that had been classified as a water course.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 6, 2022 2:22:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sastra-buildings-on-govt-land-to-remain-under-symbolic-control-of-hc-till-disposal-of-case/article65747092.ece