Madras High Court reserves order in Dinakaran case

Ruling could have vital bearing

Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran

After conclusion of arguments on the writ petitions by the villagers, reclaiming ownership of “anadheenam” (special category of once-private lands later abandoned due to non-payment of “kist” or land tax), adjacent to Justice P D Dinakaran’s lands, allegedly encroached upon by the Judge there,  Justice K Suguna reserved orders in this keenly watched case.

Earlier, State counsel submitted a report to the court on the details sought by it, on whether the survey numbers of “anadheenam” lands, mentioned by the petitioners seeking to re-invoke their ownership on the plea they are willing to pay the land tax arrears, have been covered in the Thiruvallur district collector’s report to the Supreme Court Collegium.

The collector in his confidential report to the apex court had listed the total extent of “Poromboke” (government) lands (a little over 199 acres) allegedly encroached by Justice Dinakaran over a period of years at Kaverirajapuram. The lands constitute different types of “Poromboke” lands, including those that are termed as “anadheenam” lands.

At one stage of the arguments on Friday last, when the government advocate had mentioned in the Court that the Thiruvallur district collector’s report to the Supreme Court was “confidential,” the judge asked: “After publication in the press, is it confidential?”
Ever since the controversy broke, Justice Dinakaran’s elevation to the apex court has been put on hold.

Interestingly, the claimants of “anadheenam” lands at Kaverirajapuram approached the High Court to reassert their ownership rights over those parcels of land, close to Justice Dinakaran’s property, shortly after the CPI(M)-affiliated “Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam” queered the pitch for the DMK regime demanding that all “excess” lands declared “Poromboke” in that village should be redistributed to the landless “dalits” under the State’s “free-distribution-of-two-acres” scheme to turn wastelands into arable ones.

Soon after the villagers got an interim order from the court directing that status quo be maintained in the village till their petitions were fully heard, two NGOs — the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation and People’s Watch — sought to implead themselves in those petitions.

R Vaigai, counsel for the two NGOs, had argued in the court that the villagers claiming those (anadheeham) lands now had made no reference to any “legal right.” Those lands were unfit for cultivation even by the claimants’ own admission, she pointed out, adding: “They (villagers) had not stated what their right to those properties was.”

The judgment in this case could have a crucial bearing on the encroachment charges being faced by Justice Dinakaran if the total extent of “anadheenam” lands being reclaimed by some villagers of Kaverirajapuram, now on the ground that “they are all our ancestral property,” is restored to them.

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