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Madras High Court unhappy with non-compliance of its orders to evict encroachments from water bodies – Mrit News

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Warns the Tamil Nadu government that it might be constrained to summon the Chief Secretary if the directions were not complied with in letter and spirit within 10 days

Warns the Tamil Nadu government that it might be constrained to summon the Chief Secretary if the directions were not complied with in letter and spirit within 10 days

The Madras High Court, on Monday, expressed its displeasure over non-compliance of a slew of directions issued by it to the Tamil Nadu government on January 27 to prevent unauthorised occupation of lands classified as water bodies in revenue records. The court warned that it would be constrained to summon the Chief Secretary if its orders were not implemented in letter and spirit within the next 10 days.

Miffed over a number of writ petitions continued to be filed regarding alleged encroachment of water bodies, the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala wondered why the government had not implemented the January 27 order effectively. The court also imposed costs of Rs. 25,000 on one of the government officials for having failed to remove encroachments.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Bhandari and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu had, early this year, ordered demarcation of boundaries of all water bodies in the State in accordance with details available in Tamil Nilam website and ordered removal of all encroachments by issuing notices either under the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachment Act of 2007 or the Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act of 1905.

Then, the court directed the government to preserve those water bodies by desilting them at regular intervals, creating public awareness about the need to preserve them and arranging cleanliness drive for the surroundings with local participation, and preventing unauthorized occupation by fencing as well as installation of closed circuit television cameras for surveillance or by appointing security guards wherever possible.

The court had also ordered that no registering authority under the Registration Act of 1908 should register any document in respect of any land which had been notified as water body in the revenue records and that a declaration must be obtained from every applicant for registration of property or for approval of layout or building construction or assessment of property tax or electricity or water connection that the concerned property was not located on a water body.

Officials responsible for granting layout approval, building plan approval, assessment of property tax and electricity or water connection were also directed to conduct physical inspection of the site and also cross check the revenue records and confirm that the property in question was not located on a water body. They were further warned of disciplinary action if there were complaints of having granted approval to properties located on water bodies.


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