(Prayer: The Writ Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Certiorari, calling for the records pertaining to the impugned notice dated 08.07.2008 issued by the 3rd respondent bearing Na.Ka.No.A2/1084/2008 and quash the same.)
Prayer: The Writ Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, to issue a Writ of Mandamus, restraining the respondents 1 to 3, their men, agents or any other person on their behalf from evicting the petitioners.)
M. Sathyanarayanan, J.
1. The Petitioners in W.P.(MD)No.7298 of 2008 would claim among other things that their residents of land fall within the Survey Nos.632 and 633, situated at Rameshwaram. It was originally classified as Government Poramboke land and latter on, the petitioners and other persons had occupied the same. According to the petitioners, many of such occupations were recognized by the Government itself and pattas have also been issued in favour of some other persons. Petitioners also expresses their view that though they are similarly placed like that of persons in whose favour pattas have been issued, they are yet to be issued with pattas. They have repeatedly approached the concerned authorities for redressal of the said grievance, but so far no response is forthcoming.
2. The petitioners would further state that to their shock and surprise, the impugned notice, dated 08.07.2008 came to be issued based on the order passed in W.P.No.10805 of 2007, dated 02.01.2008, calling upon them to remove the encroachments, within 15 days from the date of receipt of the Notice, failing which, appropriate action will be initiated under Section 339 of the Tamil Nadu Panchayat Act and necessary charges will also be collected by invoking Sections 340(1) and 344 of the said Act. The petitioners, challenging the legality of the said Notices, had filed these writ petitions.
3. Ms.Lakshmi Gopinathan, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners would vehemently contend that the persons similarly placed like that of petitioners have been issued with pattas and whereas, the request made by the petitioners for issuance of patta has not been considered so far and adding salt to the wound they have been issued with eviction notice also. Therefore, the said stand adopted by the local body is wholly untenable and also in gross violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Alternatively it is pleaded by the learned counsel appearing for the petitioners that they may be permitted to submit representations renewing their request for issuance of pattas to the 3rd respondent and appropriate direction may be issued to him, to sympathetically consider the representations and pass appropriate orders in accordance with law.
4. The Court has considered the submission of Ms.Lakshimi Gopinathan, the learned counsel appearing for the petitioner, Mr.A.Muthukaruppan, the learned Additional Government Pleader appearing for the District Collector and Mr.M.Kannan, the learned standing counsel appearing for the Rameshwaram Municipality and Mr.S.Subbiah, the learned counsel appearing for the 4th respondent and also perused the materials placed before it.
5. Mr.Kannan, the learned standing counsel appearing for the respondents Municipality had invited the attention of this Court to the affidavit filed in support of M.P.(MD)No.1 of 2009 and would submit that the Survey Nos.632 and 633 are classified as Cart Track Government Poramboke lands and as such, the said land is exclusively with the local body and this Court vide order, dated 02.01.2008 in W.P.No.10805 of 2007 had also directed the Collector of Ramnad District, Tahsildar of Rameswaram, to consider the representation of the 4th respondent. Accordingly, action has been taken to remove the encroachments and would further contend that the 4th respondent viz., Mr.Sigamani had also fled a civil Suit in O.S.No.6 of 2001 on the file of Court of Sub-Judge, Ramanathapuram against the Collector of Ramnad District and the Tahsildar, Rameswaram, praying for restraint order not to grant patta in respect of the suit property and also for removal of encroachments and an ex-party decree and Judgment came to be passed on 09.03.2001 that to evict the persons in Survey Nos.632 and 633 admeasuring to an extent of 255 feet East-West and North-South 29 feet and also not to grant patta. Though the Tahsildar Rameswaram, who was arrayed as second respondent, has filed an application for setting aside the ex-parte degree, which came tobe dismissed and therefore, they are also bound by the said decree and as such, notices have been issued in compliance of the said legal proceedings also. It is also contended that the petitioners are ranked encroachers and therefore, they sought to be dispossessed only by adopting due process of law and it cannot be found fault with and prays for dismissal of the petitions.
6. Mr.S.Subbiah, the learned counsel appearing for the said 4th respondent has invited the attention of this Court to the affidavit filed in support of M.P.(MD)No.2 of 200 and would submit that in the light of the civil Court decree obtained, the first respondent is also bound to implement the said order and that apart, as per the order, dated 02.01.2008 in W.P.No. 10805 of 2007 appropriate directions have been issued to consider his representation in accordance with law, after giving an opportunity to the concerned and pass orders as expeditiously as possible and accordingly, Notices have been issued to the petitioners and it cannot be found fault with and prayed for dismissal of the writ petition.
7. The Court paid its anxious consideration to the rival submissions and also perused the materials placed before it.
8. It is not in serious dispute that the 4th respondent has obtained a decree in O.S.No.6 of 2001, on the file of Sub Court, Ramanathapuram against the Collector of Ramanad District and Tahsildar Rameshwaram praying for the relief not to grant patta in respect of the Survey Nos.632 and 633, admeasuring to an extent of 255 feet East-West and North-South 29 feet and also removed the encroachments and the Suit came to be decreed ex-parte on 09.03.2001. The endeavour made by the Tahsildar, Rameswaram for setting aside the said ex-parte decree, has ended in rejection and that apart, the 4th respondent in the form of representation has also sought to implement the said Judgment and decree and this Court vide order dated 02.01.2008 in W.P.No.10805 of 2007, also directed the concerned respondents to pass orders on the representation submitted by the 4th respondent, in accordance with law, after putting the encroachers on Notice and accordingly, the impugned notices have been issued.
9. It is the stand of petitioners that the persons, who are similarly placed like that of the petitioners, have been issued with pattas and as such, the petitioners cannot be treated differently. However, the fact remains that the petitioners are yet to be issued with patta and the official respondents are proceeding against them in compliance of the Court orders and as such, the action cannot be found fault with.
10. Be that as it may, it is always open to the petitioners to submit detailed representations to the respondents 1 to 3 and to the Tahsildar, Rameshwarem, enclosing necessary documents to show that they have been treated differently from that of the persons, who have been issued with pattas, within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order. The second respondent as well as the Tahsildar, Rameshwaram, on receipt of the such representations, are directed to consider and dispose of the same in accordance with law, within a further period of 10 weeks and communicate the decision taken, take to the petitioners.
11. In sofar as the petitioners in W.P.(MD)No.7299 of 2009 are concerned, are are said to be in occupations of Survey Nos.632 and 633 of Rameswaram, had filed this Writ Petition, praying for a Writ of Mandamus, restraining the respondents 1 to 3 from evicting them and pass such further orders.
12. It is needless to say that in the event of the petitioners found in possession of the land in question as encroachers, the respondents can evict them only by resorting to due process of law.
13. In the result, both the Writ Petitions are dismissed subject to the above observations. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed. No costs.