Taking a serious view of increasing land grabbing cases in the state, Madurai bench of Madras High Court expressed its anguish over the people claiming to be advocates, acting like paid hooligans to grab the land of innocent people in Tamil Nadu.
“It is very unfortunate that even some people claiming to be Advocates dressed up in black and white also act, like ‘paid hooligans’ to grab the properties with the connivance of land grabbers. As a result, the Police Force is also not registering the cases against them fearing that there will be agitation by Advocates,” HC bench observed.
Taking note of the steep increase in offences related to property in the last three decades, the bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi opined that there is a need to enact some special legislations against land grabbing.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by a 90-year old litigant, Muthaiah who claimed that his property has been taken over by land grabbers through the fabrication of documents. He has been fighting the case since 2008.
The court took judicial notice that political leaders and communal organizations, along with black sheep in the police and administration are known to indulge in land grabbing. The bench also stated that registrars were also said to be hand-in-glove with land grabbers to fabricate documents.
The bench noted that the land grabbers are acting to violate the constitutional property rights with the aid of disgruntled elements in the Police Force, muscle power and political power.
The court had earlier suggested the state government to come up with some new legislation of Andhra Pradesh Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 1982. Observing five years since the HC suggestion, no action has been taken, the court stated, “When the Division Bench of this Court highlighted the necessity for having a suitable Legislation on the lines of A.P. Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 1982 or better Legislations, the suggestion given by the Division Bench of this Court should have been considered very seriously and the issue could have been addressed by a suitable Legislation. However, half-a-decade has gone after the order passed by the Division Bench of this Court i.e., from 10.02.2015. If the Government is so interested, in the next Assembly Session or by a Special Session, it can pass an appropriate Act to prevent Land Grabbing and protect the interest of property/land owners.”
The bench also drew attention towards the issue of increasing burden on courts and police along with the increasing cases of land grabbing in the state. “If one’s land or property is grabbed, not only the right of the owner is violated, but also criminal cases and civil cases are filed. Because of that, the already stressed Police Force and the Court, wherein the arrears are mounting, are unnecessarily burdened due to filing of new cases. To avoid these types of cases, the better way is to legislate on the lines of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and Gujarat Land Grabbing Act,” the court said.
The court has sought the state government’s response and scheduled the next hearing on December 16.