A division bench comprising Justice KK Sasidharan and P Velmurugan said, “The question of invoking Sec. 48-B of the Land Acquisition Act, which paved the way for re-conveyance of the land which was not used for the purpose for which the same was acquired, does not arise in the subject case for the simple reason that part of the acquired land had already been used for the very same purpose and the remaining part is now used by the government for another public purpose.”
The bench was allowing a batch of writ appeals from the Tiruvotriyur Municipality and the Port Trust challenging an order of a single judge dated January 6, 2015, on Tuesday. The government, at the instance of Tiruvottiyur Municipality, had acquired an extent of 13.93 acres of land from the predecessors-in-interest and the award was passed in April 1964. The land was taken possession by the Tiruvotriyur Municipality and it was partly used for the water supply scheme. But due to the replenishment of sea water, the water could not be used for public consumption.
The Municipality therefore, kept the remaining land unutilised, which was then given to the Chennai Port Trust on lease, which established the parking lot in June 2007.
One of the land owners moved the High Court, which on January 6, 2015 directed the Port Trust to hand over the land back to her. Hence, the present appeals from the municipality and the port trust.