Chennai: Ordering the Tamil Nadu government to re-convey 7.83 acres of land acquired from a freedom fighter's family, the Madras High Court observed that defence personnel and freedom fighters shouldered the security of 125 crore strong population of the country and their movable and immovable properties should not be disturbed at any cost.
The self-less and unremitting sacrifices made by such stalwarts like Mahatma Gandhi and others (in getting freedom for the country) cannot become obliterated overnight by a simple piece of 'unconsidered' land acquisition, it held.
Justice CS Karnan made the observations while quashing the February 13, 2007 rejection order passed by the Housing and Urban Development Department refusing to re-convey the land acquired by it from the family of freedom fighter Subbaiah.
"In the instant case, the authorities have acquired the freedom fighter's properties for a neighbourhood scheme which is not a paramount importance than the freedom fighters, who have contributed and continue to contribute to the safety and security of our entire nation," he said.
He directed the Secretary of the department to re-convey the land to an extent of 7.83 acre at nearby Kattankulathur to the family and grant no objection to continue to own, possess and enjoy the said property without any encumbrance under the Provisions of the Land Acquisition Act within two months.
Subbaiah was assigned the land in 1949 as honorarium under special category of Freedom Fighter for cultivation purpose to meet his basic needs and patta was issued in his name.
He died in 1973 and since then his sons and daughter were enjoying the property. They have built a house in the land which had several horticulture crops.
While so, the government acquired a total of 123.49 acres, including the 7.83 acre, for a housing scheme. Even though the acquisition proceedings were challenged by the legal heirs of the freedom fighter at every stage it was confirmed and an award was also passed by the Government.
Allowing the petition, the Judge also said the land which was acquired for housing was used for commercial purposes.
Even if the land was discharged from the acquisition proceedings, the housing scheme will not be affected, he said adding it would be an extremely painful act to dislodge the petitioners who were cultivating the land for the past 66 years.