|`No mala fide' on part of Government in acquiring land|
FACING DEMOLITION: File photo of the marriage hall belonging to Vijayakant's wife V. Premalatha.
CHENNAI : The Madras High Court has said there was no mala fide intention on the part of the Union Government in ordering acquisition of lands belonging to actor-politician Vijayakant's wife, V. Premalatha. Declining to interfere with the acquisition notification, it said the alternative proposal submitted by Ms. Premalatha too had been duly considered and rejected by the competent authority.
Justice V. Ramasubramanian, passing orders on two petitions filed by Ms. Premalatha and five others, said: "It is clear that there is no, and there cannot be any, allegation of mala fides up to the stage of publication of the declaration and the vesting of the property with the Central Government."
Concurring with the submissions of Additional Solicitor-General V.T. Gopalan and Assistant Solicitor-General P. Wilson, the Judge said the documents available on record and the circumstances surrounding the examination of alternative proposal submitted by the petitioners showed there had been no mala fide exercise of power.
"... the project for construction of grade separators for the golden quadrilateral, was mooted in 2004, and the notification under Section 3-A(1) of the National Highways Act itself was issued on August 12, 2005, one month before one of the petitioners floated a political party on September 14, 2005.
Even before the strength of the said political party could become known in terms of popular support, the declaration under Section 3-D(1) was issued in November 2005."
Mr. Justice Ramasubramanian also pointed out that the petitioners had failed to avail themselves of at least three opportunities provided by the authority.
Though the August 2005 notification gave a time limit of 21 days for any person interested in the lands to raise objections, the petitioners did not respond nor did they file objections to the notification.
Rejecting the claim that the absence of specific details in the notification prejudiced their rights, the Judge said they had sent a letter in January 2006, followed by a legal notice. The petitioners appeared to have understood precisely what portion of the land was going to be acquired, and what was to be left out.
Without such an understanding, they could not have submitted an alternative proposal, he said.
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