CHENNAI: If no reply affidavit was filed by the State Government by Friday (February 26) on a PIL challenging a GO dated August 26, 2014, which granted time till March 31, 2015 to regularise encroachments on water bodies, the GO would be quashed, warned the first Bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice MM Sundresh of the Madras High Court on Wednesday.
The warning was issued while passing further interim orders on the PIL from the Sivakasi Region Tax Payers Association seeking to quash the GO, which extended the regularisation period up to March 31, 2015. According to the petitioner, the term ‘regularization’ would mean setting right an irregularity that happened in whatever manner out of an existing legal right. It should not justify an illegality or an act expressly forbidden by law.
The State should not venture to clothe a wrong with the term ‘regularisation’ and attempt to confer a luxurious benefit of donating its land free of cost to a trespasser, namely the ‘encroacher’ and claim this act as a welfare policy decision. The government had from time to time extended the upper limit, which was in violation of all legal principles and ethics, petitioner added.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, the Bench noted that as usual, the government had not spelt out its stand on the 2014 GO. “In view of the Full Bench judgment of this court in the CPI Secretary TK Shanmugam vs TN State case delivered in 2015, the question of issue of pattas or regularisation of encroachment and lake areas was no more possible, the Bench said.