Thiru S. MUTHURAJ, B.A., B.L., STATE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER. Case Number: SA 577/D/2021, CP.2790/D/2022, CP.2794/D/2022, CP.2795/D/2022, CP.2791/D/2022 & SA.15827/D/2022. Legal Services Act 1987 is basically aimed to provide free and competent legal Services to the weaker sections of the society. Hence this Commission recommends the Member Secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, to draw the attention of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, about the aforesaid issues, to ensure that appropriate actions are being taken, so that the cases pending before various fora’s in the State of Tamil Nadu are being disposed of and justice is delivered to these persons.                                                                   Sd/-(S. MUTHURAJ)                                                   State Information

 

TAMILNADU INFORMATION COMMISSION

No.19, Government Farm Village, Pernpet, Nandanam, Chennai – 600 035. Tel: 044 2435 7580

 

Order Dated: 25.11.2022

 

PRESENT:

 

Thiru S. MUTHURAJ, B.A., B.L.,

STATE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER.

 

Case Number: SA 577/D/2021, CP.2790/D/2022, CP.2794/D/2022, CP.2795/D/2022,

CP.2791/D/2022 & SA.15827/D/2022

 

  1. Vasantha Gangadharan (SA 577/D/2021) and
  2. Selvi / Tmt. Nausheen Fathima (CP.2790/D/2022)
  3. Selvi / Tmt. Amreen Fathima (CP.2794/D/2022)
  4. Selvi /Tmt. Saeda Matheen (CP.2795/D/2022)
  5. Mohammed Imran (CP/2791/D/2022 & SA.15827/D/2022)

 

…..Appellants/Petitioners /Vs/

  1. Public Information Officer /

Special Tahsildar (L.A), SIPCOT,Unit – III,      Sriperumbudur Expansion Scheme- II,     Sriperumbudur.

 

  1. Public Information Officer,

State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd (SIPCOT),

19-A, Rukmani Lakshmipathy Road,

Egmore, Chennai – 600 008.                                                                                                                                                               ..…Public  Authorities

 

ORDER

 

  1. The above-mentioned case was taken up for hearing on 25.11.2022. The Appellants/Petitioners (“Petitioners”) were present before this Commission. On behalf of the Public Authority Public Information Officer/ Special Tahsildar (L.A), SIPCOT was present. The Petitioner Vasantha Gangadharan (SA 577/D/2021) has stated that her 19.08 acres of land at Vallam “A” Village, Sriperumbudur Taluk, Kancheepuram District was acquired as per the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997 and the compensation amount was paid to her in

March 2016. However, she further stated that compensation as per the Right to

Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 enacted on dated 01.01.2014 (“LARR Act”), was paid only for 1.50 acres of another piece of land and not for the said 19.08 acres of land.

 

  1. The other Petitioners, in their petition under Section 6(1) of the Right to

Information Act, 2005 (“RTI Act”), had stated that their lands situated in the Thiruperumbudur Circle, Kancheepuram District bearing Plot No.1533/5, Plot

No.13, Plot No.106, (Petitioner. Nausheen Fatima), Plot No.1533/5, Plot No.13,

1800 Sq.ft Land, Plot No.104 (Petitioner. Amreen Fatima), Plot No.1533/5, Plot

No.13, 1800 Sq.ft Land, Plot No. 105 (petitioner. Saeda Matheen), Plot No. 1533/5, Plot No. 13, 1800 sq. ft. plot, Plot No. 103 (Petitioner. Mohammad Imran) totally admeasuring to 9000 Sq.ft of land were acquired through SIPCOT in the year 1999 for Thiruperumbudur and Irunkattu Kottai Project. The Petitioners further sought for a copy of the decree issued in connection with the acquisition of their land, a copy of the file regarding the payment of compensation for the acquisition of the said lands, and in the event that the compensation for those lands is not paid, the procedures for obtaining the said compensation.

 

  1. On perusal of the 6(1) Petition of the Petitioners, it is evident that the Petitioners have not been paid with compensation for the lands acquired by the Government in the year 1999 and the Petitioners were unaware of other vital information including the status of acquisition, quantum of compensation, remaining land parcel post acquisition etc. It is also observed that the Petitioners continue to reside in the same address since the date of the mentioned land acquisition process. During enquiry one of the Petitioner submitted that, they had possession of the said lands for many decades, and it is their ancestral property. Certain Petitioners submitted that they have no other assets, and they bought this plot for building their dream house, which is a common dream for many civilian people.

 

 

  1. The Public Authority has submitted that, for the acquisition of said 9000 Sq.ft of land from the aforesaid Petitioners, 4 bills for Rs.24,971, Rs.71,614, Rs. 1,67,461, Rs. 22,735 accumulating to Rs. 2,86,781 was available in the treasury and further submitted that the said 4 bills have been lapsed at present.

 

  1. It is to state that private lands in the State of Tamil Nadu are acquired for public purpose for the Government Departments based on the requisition/LPS obtained from the requisitioning bodies / department under the provision of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and LARR Act, 2013 at present. In addition to the above, lands are also being acquired for the development of Industries and for developing infrastructure for Highway Network in the State, under the following Statutes:-
    • Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997 (Tamil

Nadu Act 10/1999).

  • Tamil Nadu Highways Act, 2001 (Tamil Nadu Act 34/2002) and 153.
  • Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Harijan Welfare Schemes Act, 1978 (Tamil Nadu Act 31 of 1978)
  1. Further, issues surrounding compensation for losses suffered, when and how does the land giver receive the compensation from the Government for acquiring his piece of land are typically the most complex and controversial aspects of compulsory acquisitions. For battling the above complexions, the Government enacted the LARR Act, 2013, wherein the compensation in India is four times the market rate in rural area and for an urban area, it is two times. Artisans, small traders, fisherman etc., who are affected by the land acquisition are given one-time payment even if they do not own any land. There is also provision for rehabilitation and resettlement award which includes employment to one member of an affected family. If Government acquires the lands for a private company, the said private company will be responsible for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people. Fertile, irrigated, multi-cropped farmland can be acquired only in last resort. If such fertile land is acquired, the Government will have to develop an equal size of wasteland for agriculture purpose.

 

  1. In cases of acquisition for purely public purpose the compensation is fully paid by Government and for Public Private Partnership, the Private Company is fully responsible for paying compensation. Being so, while hearing certain cases relating to land acquisition under the ambit of RTI Act, this Commission surprisingly noticed that the compensation towards lands acquired in the year 1999 were not disbursed to the affected persons till date. It is also to be emphasized that lands in these cases are acquired for Industrial or Commercial Purposes.

 

  1. The human race in this world including flora and fauna is closely associated with the land. Only based on the land in which they are subsisting, their habitat, colour, character is established. Historically, the pursuit of territory and resources has been one of the most prominent reasons for wars. The increase in land extent and the subsequent resource availability on that land directly correlates to a State’s supremacy, thus inculcating their Sovereignty over the people of invaded State. Even a person’s citizenship is decided based on the land where himself or his fore fathers were born or inhabited.
  2. Land is not only a tangible thing, but it is also directly related to the rights of people in that dominion. The Constitution was enacted for safeguarding the rights of the people. The right to property was originally one of the seven fundamental rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution. Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31 dealt with it. The Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978 abolished the right to property as a Fundamental Right by repealing Article 19(1) (f) and Article 31 from Part III. Instead, a new Article 300A was inserted to Part XII under the heading ‘Right to Property’. The right to property is still a legal or constitutional right, but it is no longer a fundamental right. In the said Amendment Act, Clause 5 of the Statement of objects and reasons states the same as extracted below; “5. Property, while ceasing to be a fundamental right, would, however, be given express recognition as a legal right, provision being made that no person shall be deprived of his property save in accordance with law.”

 

  1. It is to be emphasized that, substantial parts of the land in India were owned by them for many generations. When these type of lands are being acquired, their rights are separated from their ancestral land.

 

  1. Land is widely spread and about 29% of our Earth’s surface is land. Whereas, ancestral properties cannot be found everywhere or cannot be brought for money. These ancestral properties are inherited and are being protected by them in the past and even more, we are unaware of the fact, how many people would have sacrificed their life to save that land. In such a scenario, land must not be considered as a mere thing but to be considered as a right, which is available with the land owner even before enactment of our Constitution, which is the need of the hour in a developing country like India.

 

  1. As stated above, lands are being acquired by the Government substantially for two purposes, as follows:
    • One is for public purpose which is for establishing educational

institutions, Hospitals, roads, Government offices etc.,

  • And the other is for establishing Commercial or Industrial Establishments which is for earning revenue and for providing job opportunities.

 

  1. In the second case, the Commercial or Industrial Establishments are predominantly achieving their goals by running in a profitable manner, whereas to the utter dismay, the persons whose lands were acquired for such establishments were constrained to run from pillar to post for getting their legitimate compensation.

 

  1. In my personal experience, during my visit to the places where private lands were acquired by the Government for Industrial or Commercial establishments, for instances Ambattur Industrial Estate, Siruseri SEZ, SIPCOT Industrial Park, Irrungattukottai etc., substantially comprises of farming lands. When cash compensation as bulk payment is dispersed towards acquired land to former landowners, they due lack of knowledge on money management, tend to spend it immediately for luxurious needs including buying house, car etc., and later join for employment as a watchman, driver in the same Industrial establishment.

 

Recommendation For The Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission:

  1. Further most of the lands that are being acquired comprise of agricultural lands and the owners of these lands lack of knowledge in money management and tend to spend it immediately and later they are deserted.

Accordingly to curb this menace on our people, Industrial or Commercial Establishment, may consider giving a share in their profit from the establishment so commenced either, in addition to the compensation given as per the applicable law or a part as a compensation and balance as a share in their profit as per the mechanism encapsulated below:-

  • The Industrial or Commercial Establishment for which the lands were acquired shall be mandated to create a separate fund, wherein amount shall be remitted by the Establishment from a percentage of their profit.
  • The amount accumulated to this fund shall be earmarked exclusively for the land owners, who gave their land for the Establishment.
  • The earmarked amount shall be divided among the landowners equal to the extent of land they gave for such Establishment.
  • Such amount shall be released on a quarterly, half-yearly or yearly basis as dividends or by such other name and shall be credited directly to their bank accounts.
  • Similar to employees’ stock option scheme provided under the Companies Act, 2013, a similar arrangement can be made for the benefit of the land owners, wherein the Establishment which started functioning in the land provided by the land owners, shall provide an option to them to subscribe to its shares equal to the extent of land provided by them.
  • Moreover on perusal of the Constitution Assembly debates on Article 19(1)(f), The Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978 which repealed Article 19(1) (f) and inserted Article 300A in the Constitution and the provisions of LARR Act, 2013 in its letter and spirit, can also be construed in such a way that, the legislature always intend to protect the right and relationship of the land owners with their land.
  • The Government or its Special Purpose Vehicle/SIPCOT shall manage and monitor the working of above mechanism and shall conduct frequent audits to ensure its transparency.

 

  1. At present, two of the major debatable land acquisition projects in the State of Tamil Nadu are Parandur Airport project and Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited’s (NLCIL) project. Moreover, NLCIL company’s shares are open for subscription. Thus the feasibility of dispersing these shares/profit among the land owners, who provide their land for the company, may be ascertained as a trial, for effective functioning in the future projects. Such that, this model of land acquisition lubricates the friction faced in the land acquisition process, between the Government and the people, by creating a belief among the landowners that, they will also derive benefit from such acquisition and also they hold a right in that

Establishment.

  1. Section 25 of the RTI Act, 2005 states as extracted below:

“…. (5) If it appears to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, that the practice of a public authority in relation to the exercise of its functions under this Act does not conform with the provisions or spirit of this Act, it may give to the authority a recommendation specifying the steps which ought in its opinion to be taken for promoting such conformity.”

 

  1. Such that, this Commission by virtue of the powers vested under the above provision, recommends the Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission, to draw the above-mentioned mechanism to the knowledge of the socially, economically eminent persons seated in the Tamil Nadu State

Planning Commission, for exploring the feasibility of providing compensation

to the land owners in the manner prescribed above and recommend the same to the Government for appropriate action.

 

Recommendation For The Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority:

  1. Our Constitution has clearly earmarked distinct functions for its various organs. However, at present it is observed that these organs instead of carrying out its distinct function, keeps a watch on the functioning of other organs.

 

  1. The Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority was constituted with an aim to provide free and competent legal Services to the weaker sections of the society to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. It is observed by this Commission that the Petitioners has instituted various proceedings before the appropriate forums which are pending for more than a decade. The common procedure adopted in land acquisition process is the appropriate Government identifies the land, and deposits the compensation amount with the jurisdictional Revenue authorities for dispersing the same to the land owners. In this case, the lands were acquired for the Establishment, and the same has started, functioning commercially, paying its tax to the appropriate Government, providing employment opportunities. The tax so collected by the Government, forms its major part of the revenue, and in turn it is dispersed as Salary to the Government servants and all other authorities including this Commission. Whereas the land owners were abandoned and till date their legitimate compensation are yet to be paid. If the said lands were to be alienated by a sale deed, the land owners would have received their consideration price on the same day of registering the sale deed. It is to be emphasized that the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority is also a ‘Public Authority’ under the ambit of the

RTI, Act.

  1. Further in the instant case, the Government deposited the compensation amount towards the land acquired, within the jurisdictional treasury.
    • In such circumstances, the landowners may approach judiciary praying for either enhancement of compensation or
    • quashing the acquisition proceedings.

 

Such that, the similarly placed land owners in the present acquisition had

approached the judiciary in the year 2008, in LAOP No. 201107/2008 before the learned Principal Sub-Judge, Kancheepuram seeking for an enhanced

compensation for the lands which are being acquired in the year 1999.However to the utter shock and surprise of this Commission, the said case is sub-judice till date for more than 14 years before the trial court itself. It is also observed that, our statutes provides for various appellate remedies for the aggrieved persons, which may keep the case pending before the Hon’ble High Court and the Supreme Court for the years to come. It is to be observed here that person who lost their land in land acquisition proceedings can also be considered as a weaker section and the

Legal Services Act 1987 is basically aimed to provide free and competent legal Services to the weaker sections of the society. Hence this Commission recommends the Member Secretary of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, to draw the attention of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, about the aforesaid issues, to ensure that appropriate actions are being taken, so that the cases pending before various fora’s in the State of Tamil Nadu are being disposed of and justice is delivered to these persons.

 

Sd/-(S. MUTHURAJ)

State Information Commissioner

 

//By order//

 

 

Section Officer

 

 

To,

  1. MEMBER SECRETARY,

TAMIL NADU STATE PLANNING COMMISSION,

EZHILAGAM, CHEPAUK,  CHENNAI – 600 005.

 

  1. MEMBER SECRETARY,

TAMIL NADU STATE LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY  A.D.R BUILDINGS, NORTH FORT ROAD, HIGH COURT CAMPUS, CHENNAI – 600 104.

 

Copy content

  1. Public Information Officer,

State Industries Promotion Corporation of

Tamil Nadu Ltd (SIPCOT),

19-A, Rukmani Lakshmipathy Road,  Egmore, Chennai – 600 008.

 

  1. Vasantha Gangadharan (SA 577/D/2021)

D/o. Late. K. Mukundhan,

New No. 85, Karaneeswarar pagoda street,  Mylapore Chennai-600 004.

Mobile: 80156 09699

 

  1. Nausheen Fathima (CP.2790/D/2022)

D/o. M. Smozuader,

No. 1, Park Side street,

Nungampakkam, Chennai – 34 Mobile: 9840111199.

 

  1. Selvi / Tmt. Amreen Fathima (CP.2794/D/2022) No.1, Park Side Street, Nungambakkam, Chennai – 600 034.

 

  1. Selvi /Tmt. Saeda Matheen(CP.2795/D/2022) No.1, Park Side Street, Nungambakkam, Chennai – 600 034.

 

  1. Mohammed Imran (CP/2791/D/2022 & SA.15827/D/2022) No.1, Park Side Street, Nungambakkam, Chennai – 600 034.

 

 

 

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