Pallikaranai marshland: Madras HC pulls up official over registrations

[] The Madras High Court has initiated contempt proceedings against an official of the registration department, over the issue of registration of documents involving the Pallikaranai marshland

The Madras High Court has suo motu initiated contempt proceedings against a senior official of the registration department, in connection with the issue of registration of documents involving the Pallikaranai marshland. When the matter relating to the encroachment of Pallikaranai marshland came up recently, justice N Kirubakaran passed the interim orders and said, “This court, in an endeavour to preserve and protect existing marshlands and to retrieve the marshlands that have already been encroached upon, has to necessarily deal with the matter in the public interest very comprehensively.”

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Earlier, it was brought to the notice of the judge that clandestinely and systematically, marshlands in Pallikaranai village were being alienated illegally, fraudulently and by design, by unknown persons and land grabbers, with the help of influential officials, men with muscle and money power, by clubbing parts of marshlands with some other properties, which are located in various parts of the state. The judge had then directed that the official, Sivapriya, who was functioning as a joint sub-registrar-I, in Saidapet office for the past three years, should not be transferred. Despite that, the transfer order was issued in the presence of the deputy inspector general (registration), Chennai, Vasuki and the same was informed to the judge, who initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Vasuki.

[] Madras HC steps in again to safeguard Chennai’s marshland

When the matter came up last week, the judge also sought to know from the Chennai Corporation, if it had identified an alternative site to shift the existing dumpyard from the marshland and directed it to file a reply on the matter on August 18, 2017. He also directed the PWD officials not to carry out any inspection of the marshland, without informing the amicus curiae T Mohan, appointed by it. After perusing the memo filed by the amicus curiae, the judge directed the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board counsel to get instructions and file a report by August 10, 2017.

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When the judge was informed by the counsel for Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) that land was allotted to it by the government to install a sewage treatment plant and the same had commenced, the judge directed the CMWSSB to find out whether the plant was working properly, by using scientific techniques for disposal of the sewage and directed it to file a reply by August 18, 2017. The court also impleaded the National Bio Diversity Authority and issued a notice to assistant solicitor general Su Sreenivasan and directed him to get instructions on whether any steps could be taken, to preserve the existing marshland and to restore it to its original status.

On March 27, 2017, the court had directed the state government to file a report on the officials who had registered properties involving Pallikaranai marshland, after taking note that some 202 documents were registered pertaining to the marsh from 1990. In 2015, justice Kirubakaran had expressed shock at the shrinking of Pallikaranai marshland and directed the state government to furnish details on encroachment, dumping and burning of garbage and measures for its protection.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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