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Vacate govt land within a month, else face eviction : Madras HC tells DMK MP

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Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed DMK Lok Sabha MP V.Kalanidhi to vacate within a month, the government land on which he had constructed a private hospital
at Koyambedu area in Chennai city, failing which he would face eviction proceedings.
Mr Kalanidhi, a doctor by profession, is the son of former DMK Minister Arcot N. Veerasamy.

Passing orders on the two petitions filed by Mr Kalanidhi, elected from Chennai North Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Mr Justice S.M. Subramaniam granted time till October 15 to him to vacate the property.

The Court also directed him to hand over possession of the property to the competent authorities, failing which the Chennai Collector was directed to evict him forthwith.

In his pleas, the MP contended that he and his family members had purchased the property from a group of vendors in 1995. The land had been classified as Grama Natham (common village land) in the revenue records and that the government could not claim any right over properties that had been classified so.

Disposing of the two writ petitions filed by the MP in 2017 against the acquisition proceedings initiated to part with the land for the Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) project, and the refusal to pay him compensation on the grounds that the property actually belonged to the State government, the Judge rejected his contention and said there were no materials on file to prove as to how the petitioner’s vendors had obtained title over the property.

He also said, Grama Natham was the classification used for common village lands which could be assigned to the landless poor for residential purpose alone, if those properties were not required for the common use.

In the present case, the land had been reclassified as Government Poromboke land and the
necessary entries were made in the revenue registers since the city of Chennai could not be
construed as a village in order to continue the classification of the land as Grama Natham.

Further, a ban was also imposed as early as in 1962 against assigning these land to individuals, the Judge noted.

Even assuming that such a reclassification had not been done, Grama Natham land could be assigned and used only for residential purposes, and not for the commercial purpose of running a private hospital, the Judge said and recalled that a Division Bench of the High Court had held that a Grama Natham could not even be promoted as an apartment through a joint venture.

“The patta issued by the Tahsildar (in favour of the writ petitioner) explicitly portrays that there was a possibility of political abuse. The family members of the petitioner belong to a prominent political party (DMK) and the father of the writ petitioner was the honourable Minister in the Government of Tamil Nadu for more than one tenure,” the judge wrote.

“This court has been witnessing a multitude of cases in which the government lands had been assigned to the powerful and influential members of the society who may not be bonafide applicants and in turn these government lands are used for commercial purposes”, the Judge observed.

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