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The Madras High Court today came down heavily on a school, set up on Railway land in 1938, for not vacating the premises to facilitate an expansion project and directed the institute to move out immediately after the end of the academic year, failing which a cost of Rs two lakh would be imposed on it. "Decent people vacate premises when the lease period or licence period expires.
When a person does not behave in a decent manner, the only way left is to forcibly throw them out," Justice S Vaidyanathan said. The judge made the observations while directing Christ King Middle School, located at Railway Colony in Tambaram, to vacate about 43,680 square feet of land. The Railways submitted that the school with 1,500 children, 37 teachers and seven non-teaching staff, was allowed to function from their land at an annual rent of Re one with an objective to provide education to children of railway employees. Later it was increased to Rs 1,000 per annum. The problem started when Southern Railway issued a communication to the school claiming Rs 58.62 lakh as rent arrears for the period April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2010. After exchange of several letters between them, on December 17, 2010, the Railways issued termination of licence under 'Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971,' and suggested an alternative location as per their latest policy and guidelines. The Railways submitted that a major portion of the school was constructed without permission and the land was urgently required for their project for a coaching terminal at Tambaram to accommodate stabling lines and pit lines proposed in Phase-I at a cost of Rs 11.62 crore. It submitted that the two existing terminals at Chennai Egmore and Chennai Central are saturated and it was imperative to develop a third one at Tambaram. The requirement of the land under occupation was for public utility development, which would outweigh the requirement of the school, the Railways said. Concurring with their submissions, the court directed the school to vacate the premises immediately after the end of the academic year, failing which a cost of Rs two lakh would be imposed on the school.
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