With a rising number of cases concerning land or water encroachment, most the High Court’s valuable time is spent on such encroachment cases, the Madras High Court observed on Wednesday.
The menace of encroachments is increasing day by day, the Court observed, adding that time could have been spent on other cases requiring the Court’s attention is being spent on encroachment cases.
The Court noted that this can be discerned from the large number of encroachment cases pending before both the Principal and Madurai Benches of the Madras High Court.
The Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi noted there has been no improvement in terms of removing encroachments in Tamil Nadu, going on to opine that it cannot entirely blame government officials for failing to promptly act in such cases as the encroachers are often rich and powerful. There is no security for the life or jobs of the government officials, the Court remarked.
While disposing of a batch of encroachment cases from 2018, Court further recommended that the State create Taluka-level teams to check on encroachments, comprising of revenue officials, police officials, panchayat representatives, survey officials, members of the PWD etc. This committee should not be disturbed at least for three years, the Court said.
There cannot be any misplaced sympathy for encroachers, the Court reiterated, adding that it would create a bad precedent if the encroachment is ratified.
In this case, the Bench directed that the encroachers vacate the premises within 4 months from the order. The State was ordered to check if the persons on the encroached land were below the poverty line or not. If they were not well off, the Court has directed the government to rehabilitate them as per law.
“With great pain we have taken this decision”, Court orally added after dictating the order.