The Judge directed the revenue authorities to adhere to Rule 2 of the Specified Bank Notes (Deposit of Confiscated Notes) Rules, 2017, and refund the amount to the farmer within four weeks.
Observing that the revenue officials, who are conferred with quasi-judicial power, cannot shrink their responsibility in considering the request of a citizen for return of his money, the Madras High Court has directed the Tahsildar-cum-Assistant Election Officer to return the 6.78 lakh seized from a farmer in 2016 by the Election Flying squad, since no order has been passed establishing that the money was meant to bribe the voters.
Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana before whom the plea moved by a farmer Kanna Pillai came up said, “Unless the guilt is proved, the petitioner cannot be denied the hard-earned money. The officials cannot take their own sweet time in ensuring the proceedings to reach its logical conclusion. In such matters, the officials could get an undertaking or indemnity bond from the person concerned for the amount and return the same, if the same is not deposited with Court.”
Further pointing out that it’s not in dispute that petitioner had entered into an unregistered agreement with one Sundararaja Pillai for sale of casuarina trees and kept the remaining sale consideration with him which was seized, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, said “Though the Tahsildar claimed that the petitioner was directed to approach the District Revenue Officer (DRO) to claim the money, there is no material placed before this court to show that any such communication was given to the petitioner.”
The Judge then directed the revenue authorities to adhere to Rule 2 of the Specified Bank Notes (Deposit of Confiscated Notes) Rules, 2017, and refund the amount to the farmer within four weeks.