HC Dismisses Pleas Challenging Legality of Government Order in CMRL
By PTI | Published: 19th December 2013 10:22 PM |
Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a batch of writ petitions challenging the legality of the order passed by the Chennai District Collector to vacate lands situated opposite the Central Railway Station here for Chennai Metro Rail Limited.
Justice K K Sasidharan, however, directed the CMRL to assess the reasonable compensation payable to the petitioners with the assistance of the District Collector, Chennai.
The Judge also directed the District Collector and Chief Engineer, Public Works Department to assist the CMRL to assess the compensation and also directed to pay it as expeditiously as possible on or before January 10.
The matter relates to the Ramasamy Mudaliar Choultry opposite the station. The choultry came into existence after government granted land in August 1888 with a condition that the choultry be given to train travellers free of cost.
It also made it clear that government could resume the land without any compensation if it is used for any other purpose.
In 2010, the government found that the land was required for metro rail project and also noticed that a large portion of the land had commercial establishments on lease or sub-lease in violation of the original grant condition.
It sought to take over the choultry and other properties through the Administrator-General and Official Trustee (AG&OT), against which a batch of writ petitions were filed.
The Supreme Court, noting that the occupants of the buildings had not been given opportunity of hearing, had remanded the matter back to the government.
The Judge today said "even though AG&OT took the management of the property pursuant to the scheme for proper management, the fact remains that the nature of property remained the same. The character of property has not undergone any change."
The property was given to S Ramasamy Mudaliar for a definite purpose and "it is very clear in this case the land was not used for the specific purpose," the judge said.
"The property given by Government for a particular purpose was now used for different purposes. There are only hotels and guest houses run by private parties, travel agencies and similar other establishments," the court said.
The government has taken a decision to resume the land to restore the public purpose for which it was originally given to Mudaliar.
The benefit to public would outweigh the loss to the occupants who have enjoyed government land for all these years, the court said, dismissing the petitions.