The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court came down heavily on Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday, February 2, for delaying the compensation for a piece of land acquired to set up a bus depot at Palani by 54 years.
Justice R Subramanian, who was hearing the case said that "neither the government nor its officials are interested in the welfare of the citizens and honouring the orders of this court" by adding that "this can happen only in this country and with these government officials."
The court was hearing a time extension plea from the state. Justice Subramanian narrated the facts that led to the application "to demonstrate how lethargic, indifferent and cruel are the government officials while dealing with the rights of the citizens", reported The New Indian Express.
The government has acquired 1.03 acre of land at Sivagiripatti village in Palani to establish a state transport corporation depot in 1967. In 1971, the land acquisition officer fixed a sum of ₹1.70 per square feet as compensation. The compensation was enhanced later in 2004 to ₹7.82 per square feet.
This was challenged by the Land Acquisition Officer, but the high court dismissed the officer's appeal, and the award amount was confirmed on January 6, 2007. The legal heirs of the claimants filed an execution petition the same year seeking payment of the award amount.
While hearing the petition, it was found that out of the total compensation of ₹32.75 lakh, ₹7.33 lakh was paid by the authorities in 2005.
Directing to pay the remaining amount of ₹25.42 lakh within three months, the court disposed of the said revision petition in October 2018. But the authorities approached the court once again in 2019 with an application seeking an extension of time to pay the amount.
The court granted the authorities a final opportunity till March 25, 2021. He also warned that if the balance amount is not paid by that date, then the Dindigul collector should appear before the court.