Madras High Court ordered the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday to immediately take back the land encroached upon by SASTRA University in Thanjavur.
SASTRA University was accused of encroaching upon 58.17 acres of Poramboke land belonging to the state government, kept aside for building a prison, following which the government demanded the land be returned to it. SASTRA University had filed a case in the Madras High Court opposing the TN governmentâ€™s action.
A division bench of the Madras HC had, in September, given a split verdict on the matter. Justice Nooty Rammohan Rao ordered the land be granted to SASTRA university in exchange for Rs 10 crore, which was the market value of the land. However, Justice SM Subramaniam ordered the government to take the land back, saying that allotting the land to the encroacher would set a wrong precedent.
He stated in his order that the state government take possession of that land within four weeks from the date of the order and provide round-the-clock security to it. This led to the then Chief Justice of Madras HC Indira Banerjee to refer the matter to a third judge, Justice CV Karthikeyan, at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.
On hearing the plea, Justice Karthikeyan ordered that the state government take possession of the land immediately and upheld the order of Justice SM Subramaniam.
Originally, the university had appealed to the Special Commissioner and Commissioner of Land Administration, who rejected its plea to allot the land. The university had submitted that the government had made several such assignments to various institutions such as Periyar Maniammal Educational and Charitable Trust, Vellore Engineering College and the South Indian Film Employees Sammelanam. SASTRA University also offered to pay Rs 10 crore for the land to the government.