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HC slams Revenue officials for inaction over encroachments
Coming down heavily on rampant encroachments on Government lands and water bodies, the Madras High Court has directed the Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Land Administration, to conduct an enquiry on the lapses by revenue officials in protecting government lands, water bodies and water resources from encroachments and initiate appropriate action, if any negligence or dereliction.
Noting that there cannot be any leniency or misplaced sympathy in respect of encroachments, Justice S M Subramaniam said, “This court is able to visualize that a Tahsildar or his subordinates or the higher officials in the district administration are very well aware of such encroachments, day-in and day-out, as such field officers are passing through all such encroachments in government lands and water bodies.”
“In spite of their clear knowledge about such encroachments, why actions are not taken under the law, is the important question to be raised by all concerned in the interests of public. The reason can be many, possibly such government lands are shown by these revenue officials to some greedy men, who can satisfy the needs of such government officials. Such encroachments are permitted by the revenue officials because of corruption,” the judge added.
Also noting that the encroachments are permitted by such local officials on certain political influences and at the influence of some higher officials, Justice Subramaniam further held, “The revenue details are made available in the office of the district administration and Taluk offices. Thus, without the assistance of some officials or the subordinates working in the district administration or Taluk offices, it may not be possible for such greedy men to encroach with confidence”.
However, such greedy men, who have encroached the government lands were to be dealt in accordance with law and there cannot be any leniency or misplaced sympathy in this regard, the judge stressed in his order.
Justice Subramaniam was disposing of a petition filed by V P Jayakumar, who sought to quash an order of the Land Administration Commissioner, rejecting his claim of ownership of the property measuring 36 cents at Vellaur village in Coimbatore district.
The judge directed the authorities to evict the petitioner from the government lands with the help of police within 4 weeks.