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Corporation asked to pay damages

By Our Staff Reporter

MADURAI, MARCH 9. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Madurai Corporation to pay compensation for encroaching upon a private land and converting it into a public street.

Allowing a writ petition moved by Sri Subramaniaswamy Bajanai Mutt, Justice D. Murugesan observed that the corporation was liable to monetarily compensate the mutt since it had not challenged the ownership of the land.

Pointing out that the right to property was guaranteed under Article 300 A of the Constitution, the judge said the contention of the corporation that the mutt, by not protesting to the provision of street lights and drainage in the land, had indirectly shown its acquiescence for using the place as a public street, could not serve as a ground for denying compensation.

He directed the local body to compensate the mutt based on the market value of the land within eight weeks.

According to the mutt, the Corporation had encroached upon 800 square feet of the total 22,098 square feet land owned by it on Chinnakanmai Street in Anuppanadi.

The corporation officials trespassed into the patta land and forcibly laid a concrete road on the southern part of the property, the petitioner alleged.

Hence it sought a compensation based on the market value of the land at Rs.514 per square feet, totalling to Rs.4,11,200 along with interest at the rate of 21 per cent per annum from the date of forcible possession, July 12 last.

Arguing for the petitioner, V. Sitharanjandas contended that the Corporation did not initiate any acquisition proceedings but illegally trespassed into the patta land and forcibly encroached upon the place.

He also brought it to the notice of the court that a writ appeal moved by the Corporation with regard to encroaching nearly 2280 square feet on the northern part of the land owned by the mutt was pending before the principal seat in Chennai. Since the appeal is pending, the Corporation had deposited the compensation amount with the Registrar General of the Madras High Court on January 7.

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