Petitioners cannot assume to have a perpetual right to hold on to the property that they will not even permit the Corporation to carry out any modernisation of the place.
Holding that the principles of natural justice will depend upon the circumstances of each case and it cannot be imprisoned within a straight-jacket formula, the Madras High Court set aside a plea moved by traders at the Erode bus stand, challenging their eviction on the ground that the impugned notices have a direct consequence on their livelihood and sufficient opportunity was not given to them before issuing such eviction notice.
The Erode Corporation had asked the traders at the Erode bus terminal to vacate and hand over the shops since the existing complex was weak; also, it has been decided to demolish the existing structure and, in its place, install a new shopping complex with all facilities through funding from the Smart City Mission.
While the Corporation claimed that the petitioners’ lease expires in March 2022 and it was within its powers to cancel the lease, the traders claimed that the lease expires only in March 2025 and even before the expiry of the lease period, the impugned notices were issued, cancelling the lease.
However, Justice N Anand Venkatesh, citing independent reports which held that modernisation of the existing building can be undertaken only by demolishing the same, said: “Pursuant to a policy decision to develop smart cities, the Corporation has undertaken the project of modernisation of the Erode bus terminal. The question is even if the petitioners are allowed to put forth their objections, the policy decision that has already been taken is not going to change.”
“Therefore, it will be a useless formality to ask for an explanation on the Corporation’s decision since such an opportunity is not going to serve any purpose. Therefore, this court does not find the decision taken by the Corporation and the consequent impugned notices issued to the petitioners to be in violation of the principles of natural justice,” Justice Anand Venkatesh said.
He also said the petitioners cannot assume to have a perpetual right to hold on to the property that they will not even permit the Corporation to carry out any modernisation of the places in and around Erode Bus Terminal.