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Madras HC refuses to quash show cause notice on Agri Horticultural Society over prime land

The court on Friday questioned why the society should not be superseded and the vast land given to it by the state government several decades ago not be taken back.

Justice Kumar said he is of the view that mere issuance of the show cause notice exercising suo motu power cannot be questioned in writ petition and accordingly the same fails. (File)

The Madras High Court has rejected a plea from the Agri Horticultural Society to quash a notice issued by the Tamil Nadu government in 2006 to show cause related to taking back prime land worth Rs 5,000 crore in Chennai given to it.

The court on Friday questioned why the society should not be superseded and the vast land given to it by the state government several decades ago not be taken back.

Justice N Sathish Kumar declined to quash the notice, and directed the petitioner society, by its secretary V Krishnamurthy, to approach the civil court to decide the title of the property situated on Cathedral Road, said to be worth about Rs 5,000 crore.

After a long legal battle, the society managed to obtain a patta for the valuable land from the revenue authority (Collector in-charge). Hence, the Land Administration Commissioner initiated the suo motu review.

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“This court is of the view that any revenue proceedings would relate only with regard to mutation of records or for issuance of patta and not for deciding the title. Deciding the title of the parties always remains with the civil court. The civil court alone can go into the issue of title by proper appreciation of evidence adduced in that regard,” the judge said.

The judge pointed out he is of the view that sufficient opportunities had been given by the government and orders had been passed taking note of the documents on record and evidence available with it and thereafter only it had taken such a decision to supersede the society.

Justice Kumar said he is of the view that mere issuance of the show cause notice exercising suo motu power cannot be questioned in writ petition and accordingly the same fails. He directed the petitioner to give its reply within three weeks.

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Thereafter, the Commissioner of Land Administration, after giving an opportunity of hearing to the petitioner, shall proceed in accordance with law.

Even in the event any adverse orders are passed against the writ petitioner society, it is for it to establish their title in the manner known to law by approaching the civil court, the judge said.

First published on: 27-11-2022 at 06:52 IST
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