HC lambasts allowing person to occupy temple land for 72 yrs

Written by: Pti
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Madurai, Feb 18 (PTI): A division bench of Madras Highcourt has criticised the Thanjavur District Collector and theCommissioner of Land Administration for allowing an individualto encroach temple land at Maharnombu chavadi in Thanjavurdistrict for 72 years and build a toilet in the property.

Allowing a petition by the trustee of Karpaga Vinayakartemple, Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and R Subbiah directedthe encroacher to hand over the land to the administration ineight weeks. The Collector,in turn,should give the property tothe temple management within a fortnight.

The Bench Quashed the order of the Commissioner for LandAdministration and Thanjavur Collector who held that theindividual occupant, who was in possession of the land formore than seven decades need not be evicted as the temple wasnot in urgent need of it.

Wondering how the officials could take such a view when thecivil court had given categorical findings against theencroacher, they said the encroacher is promoting his privateinterest,"which is unfortunately supported by the Collectorand Commissioner who are bound to protect the interest of theindividual."

Their contention that temple did not require the landcannot be accepted.The temple lands are to be enjoyed by thedevotees and worshippers.

Petitioner T K Saminathan contended that a bus driverencroached the land. The matter was taken up with thetahsildhar, Revenue Divisional Officer and the districtrevenue officer.It ultimately culminated in an order by therevenue board against the encroacher in 1976.

Tiruvaiyaru distirct Munsiff dismissed the civil suit bythe encroacher and sub-court dismissed the appeal.The secondappeal was dismissed by a single judge of the high court.

In 2004,the single judge directed the collector to takeaction on the basis of civil suit decrees.

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