The Madras High Court has set aside the land acquisition proceedings of the Tamil Nadu government initiated in 2005 to establish a new Collectorate and other government buildings for the Krishnagiri district, which was carved out from Dharmapuri in 2004.
Justice M Dhandapani quashed the proceedings initiated in June 2005 while allowing a batch of writ petitions from K Siddarth and others, challenging the take over of their properties for construction of new government buildings.
After citing various decisions of the Supreme Court on the subject, the judge said that it was evident that the Master Plan Complex to be opened in the newly formed district, for which acquisition was sought to be made, would not fall within the ambit of relevant sections of the Land Acquisition Act and in such a backdrop, invoking the urgency provision of the Act to dispense with the enquiry, which was a valuable and substantive right of a land owner, could not be done away with to the detriment of the petitioners, as the enquiry u/s 5-A was not an empty formality and it definitely serves a purpose.
Though poramboke lands were available, the authorities acquired the properties belonging to the petitioners by invoking the urgency powers under Section 17 (4) of the Act, petitioners contended.
Allowing the petitions, the judge said that the notification for acquisition was issued in 2005 which had resulted in the batch of writ petitions being filed in the very same year and subsequent years in which the Court had granted an order of stay.
If really the project was so urgent and prudent, the authorities concerned would have definitely filed a petition to vacate the stay order. However, no application had been filed till date to vacate the interim order and this itself would go to show that there was no emergency in the matter, much less grave emergency, the judge pointed out.