Adi Dravidas cannot seek particular land parcels: Madras HC – The Indian Express

Chennai News

The Adi Dravidas cannot claim particular stretches of land for construction of their houses under the welfare schemes of the Tamil Nadu government, a division bench of the Madras High Court has ruled.

The bench of Justices R Subramanian and Justice K Kumaresh Babu gave the ruling while allowing writ appeals from Rangarajan and Sakunthala Rangarajan, recently.

Originally, the duo had challenged the acquisition of their land measuring about 2.59.5 hectares in Ponpadi village of Tiruvallur district. A notice under Section 4(2) of the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Harijan Welfare Schemes Act was issued in July 2000 by the Special Tahsildar, Adi Dravidar Welfare, Tiruttani. An objection was sent by the petitioners in August 2000. Thereafter an enquiry was conducted by the Special Tahsildar and in September, 2001 another statement of objections was made to the Special Tahsildar by the land owners.

The Special Tahsildar had forwarded the objections along with his comments to the District Collector in October, 2001. The Collector accepted the recommendations of the Tahsildar and overruled the objections and directed issuance of a notification under Sub Section (1) of Section 4 of the Act and the same was issued in August 2002. Aggrieved, the petitioners had approached the High Court and a single judge had dismissed it. Hence the present appeals.

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Citing a judgment of the Full Bench, the present bench said the functions of the Collector are not an empty formality. Power is vested with the district Collector to acquire, at the same time, a duty is also cast upon him to consider the objections raised by the land owners and give his own reasons for rejecting the objections. He cannot merely say that the Special Tahsildar had felt that these lands should be acquired and overrule the objections, as what had been done in the case on hand.

The bench also noted that the counter filed by the authorities concerned was shocking. It stated that the Adi Dravidars of the area wanted to construct their houses only in the land that was chosen for acquisition. If the beneficiaries are allowed to choose the land for acquisition it will lead to very dangerous consequences. The function of the Collector has been bartered away to the hands of the beneficiaries.

“We do not think that this action can be approved. We are, therefore, unable to subscribe to the order of the Writ Court upholding the acquisition,” the bench said and set aside the rejection order and allowed the appeals.Abu Dhabi | C