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Court admits pleas challenging G.O. on anti-land grabbing cells
October, 01st 2011

The Madras High Court on Friday admitted two writ petitions filed by advocates challenging a Tamil Nadu G.O. of July 28 forming 39 Anti Land Grabbing Special Cells in the State.

A specially constituted Division Bench comprising Justices K.N.Basha and N.Paul Vasanthakumar directed the authorities to file the counter by October 20. It posted the petitions for final disposal on October 21.

The Bench dismissed a petition by the DMK's legal wing secretary seeking to quash the G.O., as not maintainable.

In his petition, R.Thamaraiselvan, a DMK MP and advocate, said the G.O. was issued on political considerations and it violated various laws including the Transfer of Property Act and the Specific Relief Act and the Constitution.

G.Devarajan, also an advocate, in his petition said there were no guidelines issued to police officials to deal with land grabbing complaints.

It meant that unguided power was vested with police. The government's action amounted to usurping the civil courts' powers. The police were not complying with the mandatory provisions under the Cr.P.C. Hence the PIL, as a large number of persons were affected.

The Advocate-General (AG), A.Navaneethakrishnan, raised the issue of maintainability of the writ petitions.

The DMK's legal wing secretary, R.S.Bharathi, alleged that the special cells had been constituted to ruin the political career of DMK men in the eyes of the public and police terrorism is let loose. The government order was issued only on political grounds.

The Bench said the AG argued that as on date about 15,900 complaints had been received. Only 673 cases were registered. Sixty-nine persons belonging to DMK were prosecuted. The remaining were cases registered against persons who were not DMK workers. The cases registered so far were not confined to the alleged offences for the period from 2006-2011 (DMK rule).

The pleadings of the DMK's legal wing mainly revolved round the interest of the petitioner, a political party. We are unable to see any element of public interest. The Bench said it was of the considered view that there was no regime targeting or political witch-hunting as alleged. No public interest arose for consideration in the petition. It dismissed the petition.

Even though a writ petition had been filed by an MP of the DMK, he was basically an advocate and raised legal contentions, which required detailed counter affidavits on merits. Similarly, the other petition by Mr.Devarajan also contained legal issues for adjudication.

The petitioners in these writ petitions being advocates, their locus standi cannot be doubted. In the absence of a counter affidavit filed regarding the legal issues raised, the Bench said it was of the view that the two petitions should be admitted.

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