CHENNAI: Observing that elected persons must be dealt with sternly if they themselves involve in illegal activities of land grabbing, the Madras High Court has directed the Namakkal district Collector to enquire into the allegations of land grabbing by Kabilakurichi panchayat president and others.
If a prima facie case is identified, then appropriate actions are to be initiated, irrespective of the fact whether such persons belonged to political parties or otherwise.
If there is any violation on their part, the same must be viewed seriously, Justice S M Subramaniam said in his order delivered on September 21.
The judge was disposing of a writ petition from P Sankar praying for a direction to the State Home secretary and the Commissioner of Revenue Administration to consider his representation sent in November 2014 to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the mental agony and negligence in duty on the part of certain officials in the district administration and the Kabilakurichi panchayat president.
According to the petitioner, who was engaged in transport business, he worked in the panchayat board election against the village panchayat board president as an opposite party worker.
After the election, panchayat president and ward members indulged in land grabbing and swindled public money by creating forged bills in Kabilakurichi village panchayat.
The ward members encroached upon government poromboke land and village cart-road by using their political and muscle power, he alleged.
The petitioner said he questioned the same and informed the village people regarding the illegal activities.
He had also submitted an application to the block development officer, Paramathi Vellore in August 2012 to conduct an enquiry as the water connection provided to his residence was disconnected, the wrong notion that water is being tapped straightaway from the main-line by using electric motor, petitioner alleged.
Disposing of the petition, the judge said that elected persons involving in land grabbing activities are far more serious than that of the land grabbers who all are ordinary citizens.
Thus, such land grabbers, who have got political affinity, must be prosecuted without any leniency.
The power conferred on the executives, elected persons and other authorities is a sword.
Such persons are expected to be mindful, dutiful and act with utmost responsibility with accountability, the judge said.
In the event of indulging in any such illegal activities or heinous offences like grabbing of government land, the said allegations committed by elected persons and the executives and the authorities are to be construed as against the society at large and they must be prosecuted mercilessly.
The power conferred on such authorities are provided by the people.
When such powers are abused or misused, then they are acting against the will of the people and therefore, actions must be initiated without any lapse of time.
Persons are elected, when public trust them.
Thus, the trust and the expectation of the people are to be respected in all circumstances.
Unfortunately, large-scale allegations of land grabbing by the members of the political parties or the persons in power are being traced out not only by the authorities, but the people of that locality.
However, an ordinary citizen is unable to raise objections against such politically influential people or the members of the political parties.
Out of fear, many such instances are not brought to the notice of the government.
In these circumstances, even information through anonymous letters are to be enquired into by the government to cull out the truth, the court added.
The mindset of ordinary citizens is to be considered in such circumstances.
When the allegations of heinous offences including land grabbing are brought to the knowledge of the government, the district Collectors in this regard are expected to play a serious role as they will be having first hand information from the local people.
Contrarily, few officials from the police or revenue department or other departments actively or passively collude with such land grabbers, who belong to political parties, the court said.
The majesty of the uniformed services (police department) in all circumstances, is to be maintained without any compromise.
The discipline in the department is slowly deteriorating, which is not only visible, but being experienced by the public at large.
Thus, restoration of work discipline and rationalism of work allotment are of paramount importance to improve the efficiency level in the police department.
Misplaced sympathy or leniency can never be an accepted character of uniformed personnel, the judge said and also directed the authorities to verify the veracity of the petitioner's complaint and take action if it was found to be false.