PIL plea seeks mandatory use of GPS for land surveys

An advocate has moved the Madras High Court seeking to declare the land survey methods using Global Positioning System (GPS) and similar equipment as legally valid and binding on the parties to the survey under the Tamil Nadu Survey and Boundaries Act, 1923.

“The fact that 100 percent Central funds are available to bring in the changes must be an additional incentive for the change over,” the petitioner said and submitted that a large number of hand model of GPS survey equipment purchased by the State Survey Department are of no use, since they are not same as prescribed by the Tamil Nadu Survey manual -IV suitable for land surveys.

According to him, boundary survey marks around lands, both private and public, have disappeared or are untraceable in several parts of the State. Hence, the conventional methods of land surveys using chain links and tapes, which State Land Survey Officials continue to use, have become incapable of accurately determining the boundaries of land.

“The Tamil Nadu Survey and Boundaries Act, 1923 mandates the village and taluk level revenue officers to monitor, repair and maintain the boundary survey marks. But due to their failure to perform the statutory function, the boundary marks have disappeared over time. In the absence of such boundary marks, fresh survey and determination of boundaries have become highly manipulative, arbitrary and corrupt,” the petitioner added.

Contending that since it was impossible to physically identify the boundaries without the presence of boundary marks, he said it was necessary to take immediate action to fix new boundary marks at all the missing locations and to put an end to arbitrary and ad hoc determination of survey boundaries. It may be necessary to form a separate group of young officials for the selection and operation of modern methods of land surveys based on new technologies, as the old guards in the Land Survey Department are “stumbling blocks” for bringing in changes, he claimed.

When the PIL came up for hearing, before the First Bench of Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan the Additional Advocate General sought time to get instructions from the government.

The petitioner contended that conventional methods lack accuracy in determining boundaries

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