CHENNAI: The properties of freedom-fighters and defence personnel, shouldering the security of about 125 crore population, should not be disturbed at any cost, the Madras High Court has observed.
Justice C S Karnan made the observation while going to the rescue of the legal heirs of a freedom-fighter, who have been waging a legal battle for 29 years against acquisition of their land in Kancheepuram district.
Allowing a petition from S Balasubramaniam, son of freedom-fighter late Subbiah, the judge said the scheme is not more important than the freedom-fighters and armymen.
Could the selfless and unremitting sacrifices of stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi and others be obliterated overnight by a simple piece of unconsidered land acquisition as mentioned therein, the judge asked and directed the authorities to re-convey the land within two months and also to issue a no objection to the petitioner to own, possess and enjoy the property without any encumbrance under the Land Acquisition Act.
The government had assigned 7.83 acres at Kattankulathur village in Kancheepuram district to Subbiah as a honorarium under the special category of freedom-fighters for the purpose of cultivation to meet his basic needs in 1949. After his father’s death in 1973, the petitioner, his two brothers and a sister were in possession of the property. While so, the State government initiated acquisition of 123.49 acres, including that of their property for a housing scheme and passed an award in 1986. The compensation of Rs 2.68 lakh was not given to them but deposited in a civil court and they were not aware of the same. Thereafter, the land was not utilised for the purpose for which it was acquired. Moreover, since they were in possession of the land, they approached the authorities several times for re-conveying the property. But there efforts went in vain. The judge said the acquisition had been initiated in 1974 and 123.49 acres have been acquired for the Neighbourhood Housing scheme. The said purpose has not been completed even after lapse of many years and especially, the petitioner’s physical possession of the land, so far, had not been taken by the authorities as per the possession certificate issued by the VAO concerned.
If the land to an extent of 7.83 acres is discharged from the land acquisition proceedings, the housing scheme won’t be affected. The authorities have not incurred loss through any investment. Besides, the Satellite Town can be established at any available site.
In the instant case, the petitioner and his blood relations are cultivating the land for about 66 years, hence, it will be extremely painful to dislodge them now, the judge said giving liberty to the authorities to withdraw the compensation from the civil court wherein it has been deposited.