The Madras high court does not endorse the government policy of not removing encroachments till the time squatters are given alternative sites, saying such a decision amounts to promoting encroachment.
The court has made the observation while hearing recently a public interest litigation filed by Peter Swamy Dhas before its Madurai bench in 2021. The petitioner sought a direction to the authorities to remove encroachments from Parakkai channel to Suchindram Kulam at Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district.
The state government submitted that action has been taken to remove encroachments in the water body. It said 388 encroachments have been removed and the remaining 131 would be done away with after making alternate sites available to the people living there.
A division bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice S Ananthi (since retired) expressed surprise at the halfbaked action regardless of the court’s direction.
Saying such attitude is not acceptable, the judges noted that they do not support the government policy of letting encroachments be until the encroachers are given alternate sites.
The judges directed authorities to remove lawfully the remaining 131 encroachments within four months.
They said Tamil Nadu has been saddled with encroachments because of official inaction or for other reasons.