Eviction notices sent to Salem, Dharmapuri villagers stayed

On recording the submissions, the bench noted that in contradiction to the directions of the Division Bench, the present notice had been passed, whereby the petitioners were not allowed to raise their objections.
Eviction notices sent to Salem, Dharmapuri villagers stayed
Madras High CourtFile photo

CHENNAI: A vacation bench of Madras High Court had passed two separate interim stay orders on notices served by the highways department to the Villakundam residents in Salem district and by the forest department to the Kombai village in Dharmapuri villages.

The division, consisting of Justice MS Ramesh and Justice Mohammed Shaffiq passed these directions on hearing two different petitions filed by Hitler and Gunasekaran of Villakundam village and another one by Arumugam of Kombai village in Dharmapuri.

While the Hitler and Gunasekaran sought a direction to quash an eviction notice issued by the highways authorities seeking to vacate the houses of petitioners and others in the Villalakundam village in Vazhappadi Taluk, Arumugam, in his petition wanted a direction to quash the notice of forest ranger, Dharmapuri since the officer claimed the Arumugam and others have constructed buildings in the forest lands.

“We have constructed houses after getting the approval from the village panchayat and the revenue authorities. However, the highway department officers passed the eviction notice. While the notice was under challenge before the HC, the authorities tried to proceed with an action. On February 3, the HC directed officials not to take any coercive action against us. However, the highways department wants to vacate us by issuing a fresh notice, ” the petitioner Gunasekaran submitted.

On recording the submissions, the bench noted that in contradiction to the directions of the Division Bench, the present notice had been passed, whereby the petitioners were not allowed to raise their objections. “In this regard, we are of the view that the impugned notice may require interference. Because of the prima facie case made out, there shall be an order of interim stay till 29.06.2022,” the judge held.

In the case of Arumugam, the petitioners submitted that the residents of Kombai villagers have been residing in a place for more than a century since their forefathers’ period and the forest department had issued a notice asking them to vacate the land.

The court passed an interim stay on the notice of the forest department and directed the forest department to file its response by June 13.

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