HC asks govt for final view on bringing law to prevent kangaroo courts

The matter has been pending since 2006. Already several interim orders had been passed against katta panchayats by various benches.  

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Tamil Nadu government to place before it a final view with regard to introducing proper legislation to prevent 'katta panchayats' (kangaroo courts).

The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh before which a petition filed by one K Gopal and another person came up, perused the government affidavit which sought a four-month period to proceed with the discussions in view of the coming assembly election.

"We are of the view that the impending elections cannot come in the way of the continuation of the discussions taking place as the matter is very urgent in nature," the bench said.

The matter has been pending since 2006. Already several interim orders had been passed against katta panchayats by various benches. In continuation of this, the matter came up before court today.

In 2005, Gopal had moved the high court for a direction to Inspector of Police at Thiruvottiyur to register his complaint and sought an order asking 'Nalla Thannner Odai Kuppam Meenavar Grama Sabha' in the area to return allegedly illegally collected Rs 40,000 by it.

In 2006, the high court had treated as PIL a report in a leading Tamil daily, which said that four persons, including a woman, were isolated from a village and that she was fined Rs 500 for giving water to her son.

When the matter came up today, the bench perused the report filed by the court-appointed amicus curie and said his view was that the appropriate remedy would be a legislation to deal with this aspect of katta panchayat.

The government affidavit stated that discussions were on at the highest level between the departments concerned and various options had been explained and sought four months time to take a decision on the panchayats, to which the bench said the matter was urgent and that impending polls cannot come in the way of continuation of discussions.

"Naturally any legislation would have to await the constitution of the new assembly, but the ground level work shall continue in the meantime and a find view be placed before us on the next date of hearing," the court said.

The bench then posted the matter for further hearing to June 23.

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