Queency Jain –
The Madras High Court, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, has directed the Chennai Collector to inspect lands, classified as water bodies, that have been allegedly sold to private individuals after sub-dividing the property.
The directive comes after the petitioner, G. Devarajan claimed that around 100 acres of land, classified as water body, at Sembium near Perambur, has been encroached by the “Land Sharks”.
Devarajan claimed that the property encroached was used for taking bank loans and some of the Registration Department officials were also involved in the same. Further, Devarajan urged that the water and sewage connections of the lands encroached must be disconnected.
A bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and T.V. Thamiselvi ordered the Chennai collector to inspect the encroached government property and also submit the report of the number of encroachers present there as a comprehensive report by 14 July. It was further ordered to carry on the inspection in the presence of revenue officials.
Considering the importance of water bodies in the State, the bench also requested Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram to make sure that proper attention is given to the issue so that no more water bodies get vanished and directed the government to take necessary steps to protect the water bodies.
In conclusion, interim orders were issued on the public interest litigation filed.