Eviction drive in Kottayam town: Supreme Court orders status quo

Legal Correspondent

Supreme Court Bench issues notice to the Kerala government

‘No valid acquisition proceedings followed’

Petitioners had been told to vacate in 24 hours

New Delhi: The Supreme Court in an urgent hearing on Sunday ordered status quo in respect of eviction and demolition of buildings in Kottayam for widening of the Kottayam Post Office road.

A vacation Bench of Justices C.K. Thakker and L.S. Panta in a special sitting at the residence of Justice Thakker, after hearing counsel P. Prashant and Harish Kumar, granted status quo on a petition filed by P.N. Chandrasekharan Nair seeking stay on eviction and demolition. The Bench issued notice to the Kerala government and other respondents and posted the matter for further hearing in July.

Petitioners Mr. Nair and others who are tenants in the properties sought to be demolished contended that they were eking out their livelihood from the business conducted in the respective premises for the last several decades.

They submitted that there were no valid acquisition proceedings by the State government for widening of the ‘Kottayam Post Office’ Road, the alleged public purpose for which notice of eviction/demolition was issued against them within 24 hours.

The petition said: “There are 16 landowners who are having their properties in the said road and unless acquisition orders under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 are passed against them, the width of the road cannot be increased and such proceedings are yet to start. Out of the 16 landowners, only six landowners have freely surrendered their land for the purpose of widening of the road and in respect of 10 others there are no acquisition proceedings.”

“The petitioners are tenants in respect of properties wherein the landlords have surrendered their lands. The Kerala High Court while disposing of a writ petition against the eviction directed the Municipality to issue notices before enforcing their eviction. The Municipality will hear the petitioners before orders are passed.”

The petitioners contended that the Municipality held a farce meeting on May 29 and on May 30, the Municipality passed a resolution asking them to vacate in 24 hours. Hence the present writ petition. They alleged that there was political pressure on the Municipality to evict them so as to ensure construction of a multi-storeyed complex on the road. They said that an urgent interim order of stay of demolition was required as they apprehended that the Municipality would demolish the buildings on Sunday itself.

Recommended for you