September 28, 2021 9:56:03 am
The Madras High Court has rejected a plea from the Dr S Ramadoss-headed Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) to quash the proceedings initiated to recover the loss accrued to the government for not operating its bus services due to the political party’s agitations in 2013.
“The writ petitioner has not established lack of jurisdiction or otherwise for the purpose of entertaining the writ petition. Admittedly, the notice of hearing is under challenge. Thus, the petitioner is at liberty to submit their objections, explanations, documents, evidence, etc., for the purpose of defending their case by availing the opportunities to be provided,” Justice S M Subramanian said.
The judge was disposing of a writ petition from PMK president G K Mani last week to quash a June 17 2013 notice of the Additional Chief Secretary/Commissioner of Revenue Administration, Revenue Department-Administration Disaster Management and Mitigation department, directing him to appear for an enquiry and file a written statement in respect of the charge being made under the TN Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992.
The notice claimed compensation from the petitioner for the revenue loss caused due to the non-operation and partial operation of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) buses in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts, during the agitation held by the petitioner party members from April 25, to May 19, 2013.
Rejecting the plea and disposing of the petition, the judge noted that the present writ petition was pending for about six years.
“Thus, further delay would cause prejudice to either of the parties. In these circumstances, it is necessary that the enquiry must be conducted without any further delay,” the judge said and directed the official concerned to continue the enquiry by following the procedures as contemplated and by affording opportunity to the petitioner and complete the same in all respects, take a decision and pass orders on merit and in accordance with the law within four months.
The petitioner shall co-operate for the early disposal of the enquiry proceedings by avoiding unnecessary adjournments. Even in case of adjournment on genuine grounds, the competent authority must record the reasons. In the event of non co-operation on the part of the parties, such non co-operation is to be recorded in the proceedings itself, the judge said and directed the official to issue a circular to all the district Collectors and DSPs across the State to ensure immediate action in the event of any damage or loss to the property under the Act.
Failure, if any, should be viewed seriously and appropriate actions are to be initiated against the public authorities, who all are responsible and accountable for their lapses, negligence and dereliction of duties, the judge added.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.