In a significant observation, the Madras High Court last week said that State Authorities need to be told that the Right to Property has close nexus with Right of Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
This observation by Justice N. Seshasayee came in a plea wherein it was alleged that the State failed to take any action regarding the lands of the Petitioners despite Court's direction that the State should "go for fresh acquisition following the due process of law".
Coming down heavily upon the authorities, the Court said,
"By their inaction, they have denied the right of these citizens at least for 10 years, and to that extent, they have transgressed the quality of life of the citizens of this Country within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution of India"
Matter before the Court
On 30th December 2004, a 4(1) notification was issued under the Provisions of The Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Harijan Welfare Schemes Act, 1978 for acquiring the lands of the petitioners.
This was challenged by the petitioners in a batch of two Writ Petitions and on 29th September 2010, these Writ Petitions were allowed by the Court.
While allowing the pleas, the Court had provided a legal advice to the State Government/concerned Authorities to go for fresh acquisition following the due process of law.
However, no action to that effect was taken by the State. In the meantime, the petitioner tried to have their properties re-mutated in their names, but they didn't get success. Hence, the petitioners approached the Court with the instant Writ Petition.
In this backdrop, the Court remarked,
"If the allegations made in the affidavit filed in support of the petition were to be accepted on their face value, then, it only exposes the calousness with which the Authorities in this District deal with the right to properties of the citizens."
Lastly, the Additional Government Pleader took notice for the respondents and he was asked to make a statement as to the correctness of the allegations made.