CHENNAI: Expressing displeasure over the attitude of government officials in disposing representations made by citizens even after repeated directions from it, the First Bench of the Madras High Court directed that the loss suffered shall be recovered from the officer, who failed to act on such representations.
The First Bench comprising Chief Justice SK Kaul and Justice TS Sivagnanam passed this order while disposing of a petition moved against the State government’s decision to construct a Taluk Panchayat Office in a school playground.
S Natarajan and four others from Bodinaickenpatti Village, Salem District, moved the High Court against a notification, by the Salem District Collector dated July 3, 2014, to construct the Taluk Panchayat Office in the 9.88 acres of playground in the village which was used by the students of Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Higher Secondary School and other children of the village.
The petitioners claimed that the ground is the only open area available in the village for children and youth to play and resort to some physical activities. As the petitioners had approached the court without making any representation to the authorities concerned, the court directed them to make a representation which was to be examined within a month.
As directed, the petitioners made a representation on February 18 to the district collector with a reference to the court’s order. But even after repeated reminders, the officials failed to respond.
Following this, aggrieved petitioners approached the High Court once again. Admitting the petition, the First Bench said, “The representation has met the usual fate of there being no response. This is something we have been repeatedly commenting about, without any remedy.”
The Bench directed the district collector to dispose of the representation as expeditiously as possible and stop all construction activities in the playground till the representation is disposed of. The court further directed that the loss suffered by stoppage of construction may be recovered from the officer concerned who failed to act on the representation despite directions of the court.