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HC Draws the Line, Tells Babus to Deal with Squatters

Bench disposes of PIL seeking to preempt opening of dam shutters; says judiciary must not step into the domain of governance; encroachments a mess created by administration

Published: 22nd December 2015 02:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2015 02:47 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: With the increasing number of cases on encroachments and construction of buildings on lakes and water-ways coming to the fore,the Madras High Court on Monday washed its hands off, leaving the matter in the hands of the administration to decide future course of action.

“The administration created the mess. Let it sort it out,” the first bench of Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana said while disposing of a PIL from TK Rajendran of Tirunindravur in Tiruvallur district seeking to restrain the local administration from opening the shutters of the lake.

The PIL, filed well before the incessant rains and subsequent floods, sought to increase the water storage level in the lake to meet the water demands of agriculture and the public. The PIL was filed to pre-empt the opening of the shutters by vested interests, including the PWD and Slum Clearance Board.

“The aforesaid is only one example of how the land-use area has been violated and the precautions for proper development, are given a pass,” the bench said.

The earlier residents knew what they were doing when the areas were earmarked for certain purposes. It is not even the case where the law has been amended, but it has been violated, the bench observed.

“We do not want to step into the domain of the administration’s action. It is the job of the administration to sort out the mess they have created. Suffice to say that the interest of the agriculturalists in the area should be safeguarded to ensure that the water stored in the lake is capable of being utilised in the future when there may be a paucity of water. But at the same time, if there is a danger to the boundaries of the lake, necessary precautions have to be taken. As to how this has to be done, it is the (responsibility) of the administration,” the bench added.

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