CHENNAI:A division bench of the Madras High Court has granted time till April 30, 2019 to the Christ King Middle School at Railway Colony in Tambaram East to vacate and handover the vacant premises to Southern Railway (SR).
The bench of Justices R Subbiah and P D Audikesavulu passed an order to this effect while disposing of an appeal from the school, assailing an order dated December 15, 2017 of a single judge, recently. The appeal sought to quash the eviction order of the Chief Engineer, SR.
The land measuring 43,680 sq.ft. in which the school is being run from 1935, was allotted by the then railway authorities on an annual rent of Rs 1 for the benefit of children of railway employees and others.
According to school’s senior counsel P Wilson, the Additional Divisional Railway Manager and Estate Officer, without even granting any reasonable time, had hastily passed the eviction order on December 17, 2010. Assailing the same, the school moved the High Court, which in December last year dismissed it. Hence, the present appeal.
Railways contended that the land was urgently required for establishing a coaching terminal at Tambaram to accommodate stabling lines and pit lines at a cost of Rs 11.62 crore. Taking note of the fact that two existing terminals at Egmore and Central are saturated, it was imperative to develop the third terminal at Tambaram. The requirement of the land under occupation of the school was, therefore, for public utility, which will outweigh the school’s requirement, it said.
Finding considerable force in the submission of senior counsel, the bench said that it was not inclined to go into the correctness or otherwise of the eviction order, inasmuch as the school had filed an affidavit of undertaking to vacate and handover vacant possession of the premises to SR by June 30, 2019. In its affidavit, the school had categorically stated that such time was required to identify an alternative place to accommodate its 1,500 students. The time sought for by the school was reasonable, the bench added and restricted it to April 30, 2019. In the meantime, it is open to SR to commence the preliminary works, the bench said and made it clear that no further extension of time will be granted.
FOR NEW TERMINAL
Railways contended that the land was urgently required for establishing a coaching terminal at Tambaram to accommodate stabling lines and pit lines at a cost of `11.62 crore