MADURAI: Taking a serious view of pendency of vacancies at the office of the Special Deputy Collector (Stamps) in Tiruchy, which has negatively impacted the public, the Madras High Court bench here has directed the authorities concerned to immediately appoint the necessary staff.
Justice S Nagamuthu also rapped the Tiruchy Collector for his negligence while hearing a petition by one R Ponnuchamy of Tiruchy, who alleged that a sale deed was pending clearance for 21 years as only the Special Deputy Collector was at work. In fact, over 2,000 documents were pending the official’s clearance.
Ponnuchamy had purchased agricultural land in Manapparai taluk in June 1993 for `2,000. The Sub Registrar at Manapparai informed him that he must pay `16,819 as deficit stamp duty. When he objected to this claim, the Sub Registrar registered the sale deed but referred it to the Special Deputy Collector (Stamps), who fixes the market value of the property and the duty payable therein. However, since then the document has been pending with the official. Due to this, Ponnuchamy was unable to get electricity connection for his farm.
The court summoned the Special Dy Collector Natarajan and the latter submitted that Ponnuchamy had not come for enquiry or participated in the Samadhan Scheme under which the document would be returned if half of the stamp duty is paid. Instead Ponnuchamy had approached the court only after revenue recovery proceedings were initiated against him.
The official added that only three staff members were working with him and they had to handle documents from Tiruchy, Karur, Pudukkottai, Ariyalur and Perambalur districts. The sanctioned strength of his office was six posts of Assistant and one post of Typist, which were not filled.
Taken aback by this, the judge pointed out that the Special Deputy Collector (Stamps) is a quasi judicial authority, who has to make a visit to the properties spread across five districts and pass a preliminary order after due procedure.
“The ultimate sufferers are the parties, whose documents numbering 2,000 are pending for several years. This only shows that neither the District Collector nor the District Revenue Officer is showing their best attention to see that the office of the Special Deputy Collector functions smoothly,” the judge added.
Hence, he directed them to fill up the vacancies either on transfer or on deputation and submit an action taken report by December 1.
The court asked the Special Deputy Collector to dispose of Ponnuchamy’s file within four weeks.