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Publication Of Intended Acquisition In Little Known Newspapers Amounts To Fraud On Statute & On Right To Property Of Citizens: Madras High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
6 Feb 2021 8:15 AM GMT
Publication Of Intended Acquisition In Little Known Newspapers Amounts To Fraud On Statute & On Right To Property Of Citizens: Madras High Court
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While underlining that publication of an intended (land) acquisition in little known newspapers may amount to a fraud on the statute, and a fraud on the right to property of the citizens¸ the Madras High Court on Friday (05th February) came down heavily upon the State's bureaucracy. The Bench of Justice N. Seshasayee further cited 4 ruling wherein the Apex Court as well as Madras...

While underlining that publication of an intended (land) acquisition in little known newspapers may amount to a fraud on the statute, and a fraud on the right to property of the citizens¸ the Madras High Court on Friday (05th February) came down heavily upon the State's bureaucracy.

The Bench of Justice N. Seshasayee further cited 4 ruling wherein the Apex Court as well as Madras High Court has frowned upon the practice of causing paper publication in less known newspaper with least known circulation in a locality.

Court's observations

The notification of an intended land acquisition was published in a certain daily called 'Trinity Mirror', which is said to have wide circulation in Hosur Taluk.

The Court noted that not only the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, but even the State Enactments on the land acquisition require newspaper publication at least in one English and one Vernacular newspaper having wide circulation in that locality.

The point of contention before the Court was, since the word 'locality' is not defined, whether it will mean a particular village where the property is situated, or the Taluk or the District concerned?

Secondly, since it is not known whether this daily 'Trinity Mirror' has such wide circulation throughout the District, and what is the need to opt for this daily when there are other popular newspapers with greater circulation?

Thirdly, whether circulation implies mere sale of number of copies of the newspaper, or does it amount to readership?

The Court further noted,

"If the intent of the statute is to ensure that the notification of an intended acquisition reaches as many people in the locality as possible, then it can only signify the readership, and not the sale of newspaper copies."

Significantly, while citing 4 rulings the Court observed,

"This Court is at a loss to understand why after two decades, the bureaucracy has not considered it necessary to appreciate what the law on subject is (while citing 4 rulings on the subject matter). Should the Court presume that the bureaucracy has not considered Article 261 of the Constitution of this country as worthy of respect?

In this backdrop, the Court suo moto impleaded the Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, as a respondent in the matter.

The matter has now posted the matter for further hearing on 12th February.

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