CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to file a rebuttal to explain to the court whether the Shanmuga Arts Science Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA) has occupied water bodies in Thanjavur districts.
Leading the first bench with Justice N Mala, Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari adopted the leadership after hearing a petition filed by SASTRA – a reputable university.
The institution has asked the court to quash an eviction notice issued by the Thanjavur district tax authorities against the university for occupying 31.37 acres of land for 35 years, originally allocated to the prison department.
When the case was resumed on Tuesday, J Ravindran, Additional General Counsel (AAG) said the institute had encroached on government land and it had also encroached on bodies of water.
Although the SASTRA University attorney informed the court that he was prepared to provide alternative land and adequate compensation to the government, the AAG opposed the argument. The AAG informed the court that the government cannot obtain alternative land from the institute to occupy the water bodies. “Revenue records show very clearly that the university had occupied the water bodies,” the state said.
In registering the submissions, the judges ordered the state government to file a counter affidavit and granted the institution freedom to file a response for that counter. The judges noted that after receiving the meter from the government and a response from the petitioner, the court would assess whether or not the bodies of water have been encroached upon by the university.
The court adjourned the case to September 26.