By Our Staff Reporter
An area of ten grounds, was earmarked by the city planners as open area and childrens’ play space in Ashok Nagar on 65th Street of 12th Avenue. This space was encroached by a land grabber long ago. A resident who took this issue to court has won a favourable order which helps to restore the play area.
A Public Interest Litigation case was filed in 2007 by R. Krishna, a resident of 65th Street, with local support and inputs from activist Ravichandran of Citizen’s Guardians.
On June 24, the Madras High Court gave its order.
Some years ago, following the efforts of the residents in this area, the ‘dwellers’ inside this area were evicted.
The court has now ordered the Chennai Corporation to take possession of the land and build a compound wall to protect it from further encroachment and to set up children’s play equipment inside.
The civil suit filed by the encroacher (who occupied the space for 30 years) is still pending in the civil court. Corporation of Chennai did not follow up the case and hence, earlier, a ex parte decree was issued twice by the court, in favour of the encroacher.
The Corporation was also ordered to pay a penalty of Rs. 25,000 to the Advocate’s Welfare Association Fund.
The High Court has set aside the ex parte decree. The civil suit has to be disposed off before the Corporation wins the title for the space. The court has given six months’ time for this.
The court in its judgement says, “We hope and trust the Commissioner will bestow his best attention to ensure that the suit is contested on merits without giving scope for any default”.
The judgement copy has been handed over to the Corporation by the litigants and now, the children’s play area is ready for development.
“The case shows that the authorities have not protected public property, thereby causing total dereliction of duty and responsibility,” says Ravichandran of Citizens Guardians.
R. Krishna, the litigant is euphoric about the victory. He says, “It is heartening that we have achieved what the Corporation could not.”