Madras HC: Issue free house pattas to SC families
Real Estate

Madras HC: Issue free house pattas to SC families

The Madras High Court noted that the legitimate expectations of the people were violated when authorities decided to construct the taluk office on the site initially earmarked for issuing house site pattas to them in Dindigul district. In response, the court directed the authorities to identify the beneficiaries and issue house site pattas to them free of charge.
Petitioner P Selvakumar, who belongs to the arunthathiyar community, highlighted that approximately 500 scheduled caste families reside in poor conditions in Teppampatti village. When these families applied for free house sites, the government identified land in Kallimandayam, Oddanchatram taluk, for allotment in 2012. However, in 2022, authorities informed the petitioner that the land was needed for constructing a taluk office for the proposed Kallimandayam taluk. Dissatisfied with this decision, the petitioner filed the present petition challenging the order. 
Justice G R Swaminathan observed that currently, Oddanchatram has not been divided, and Kallimandayam has not yet been established. The crucial question is whether the process initiated 12 years ago should be halted in anticipation of forming the new taluk. According to constitutional principles, people are entitled to live with dignity.
The judge pointed out that the authorities did not adequately consider whether it was absolutely necessary to construct the taluk office specifically at the site designated for the scheduled caste community. There was a lack of comparative evaluation, and the decision to prioritise the taluk office over the allocation process for the beneficiaries was made unilaterally by officials. The court concluded that this decision was arbitrary. 
Justice Swaminathan emphasised that such a decision should not have been made without informing and consulting the stakeholders. The prospective beneficiaries had a legitimate expectation that was significantly violated. The judge firmly stated that the authorities should have considered the broader perspective, where benefiting 500 families should have been prioritised over constructing a taluk office at the chosen site. This, he emphasised, is what constitutes the proper exercise of governmental authority. The court found that the decision made by the authorities was severely deficient in this regard as well.            

The Madras High Court noted that the legitimate expectations of the people were violated when authorities decided to construct the taluk office on the site initially earmarked for issuing house site pattas to them in Dindigul district. In response, the court directed the authorities to identify the beneficiaries and issue house site pattas to them free of charge.Petitioner P Selvakumar, who belongs to the arunthathiyar community, highlighted that approximately 500 scheduled caste families reside in poor conditions in Teppampatti village. When these families applied for free house sites, the government identified land in Kallimandayam, Oddanchatram taluk, for allotment in 2012. However, in 2022, authorities informed the petitioner that the land was needed for constructing a taluk office for the proposed Kallimandayam taluk. Dissatisfied with this decision, the petitioner filed the present petition challenging the order. Justice G R Swaminathan observed that currently, Oddanchatram has not been divided, and Kallimandayam has not yet been established. The crucial question is whether the process initiated 12 years ago should be halted in anticipation of forming the new taluk. According to constitutional principles, people are entitled to live with dignity.The judge pointed out that the authorities did not adequately consider whether it was absolutely necessary to construct the taluk office specifically at the site designated for the scheduled caste community. There was a lack of comparative evaluation, and the decision to prioritise the taluk office over the allocation process for the beneficiaries was made unilaterally by officials. The court concluded that this decision was arbitrary. Justice Swaminathan emphasised that such a decision should not have been made without informing and consulting the stakeholders. The prospective beneficiaries had a legitimate expectation that was significantly violated. The judge firmly stated that the authorities should have considered the broader perspective, where benefiting 500 families should have been prioritised over constructing a taluk office at the chosen site. This, he emphasised, is what constitutes the proper exercise of governmental authority. The court found that the decision made by the authorities was severely deficient in this regard as well.            

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