They have been living adjacent to a water body for more than 30 years
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday ordered the Government to grant ‘patta’ (land ownership document) to 22 Dalit families who were residing adjacent to a water body at Sirukulam in Ilayangudi taluk of Sivaganga district for more than 30 years.
Allowing a public interest litigation petition filed by one of the residents, a Division Bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice M. Venugopal directed the Revenue Secretary, Commissioner of Land Administration and the Collector to issue the patta within 12 weeks.
“We have no hesitation to hold that the respondents have failed to appreciate the fact that the poor and downtrodden people are being made to run from pillar to post, even though they are living in the said area for the last 30 years without causing any damage to the bund of the water tank as has been apprehended by the respondents,” the Judges observed.
Even assuming that the encroachers would damage the bund, the district administration had got all sources to initiate legal action against such wrong doers and to pass necessary prohibitive orders. Similarly, if the officials apprehended danger to the inhabitants in event of the tank overflowing, they could very well resort to other means of solving the problem such as increasing the height of the bund, the Judges said.
Speaking for the Bench, Mr. Justice Dharma Rao said: “It is also to be pointed out that the petitioners have volunteered to surrender the house site pattas already assigned to them at a different place because it was allotted against their wishes and since they have already put up their houses in the place under question. But such a fair and voluntary surrender of the pattas was rejected by the Collector for no better reason offered.”
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