The Madras High Court has suo motu initiated contempt proceedings against a senior official of the registration department in connection with the issue of registration of documents involving Pallikaranai marshland here.
When the matter relating to the encroachment of Pallikaranai marshland came up recently, Justice N Kirubakaran passed the interim orders and said, "This Court in an endeavour to preserve and protect existing marshlands and to retrieve the marshlands which have already been encroached upon has to necessarily deal with the matter in the public interest very comprehensively."
Earlier it was brought to the notice of the judge that clandestinely and systematically, marshlands in Pallikaranai village are being alienated illegally, fraudulently and by design by unknown persons,land grabbers with the help of influential officials, men with muscle and money power by clubbing parts of marshlands with some other properties which are located in various parts of the state.
The judge had then directed not to transfer the official, Sivapriya, who was functioning as a Joint Sub-Registrar-I, in Saidapet office for the past three years.
Despite that, the transfer order was issued in the presence of Deputy Inspector General (Registration), Chennai, Vasuki and the same was informed to the judge who initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against Vasuki.
When the matter came up last week, the judge also sought to know from the Chennai Corporation if it had identified an alternative site to shift the existing dumpyard from the marshland and directed it to file a reply on the matter on August 18.
He also directed the PWD officials not to carry out any inspection of the marshland without informing the Amicus Curiae T Mohan appointed by it.
After perusing the memo filed by the Amicus Curiae (AC), the judge directed the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board counsel to get instructions and file a report by August 10.
When the judge was informed by the Counsel for Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board that land was allotted to it by the government to install a sewage treatment plant and the same had commenced, the judge directed the CMWSSB to find out whether the plant was working properly by using scientific techniques for disposal of the sewage and directed it to file a reply by August 18.
The court also impleaded the National Bio Diversity Authority and issued notice to Assistant Solicitor General Su Sreenivasan and directed him to get instructions on whether any steps could be taken to preserve the existing marshland and to restore it to its original status, returnable by August 11.
On March 27, the court had directed the state government to file a report on the officials who had registered properties involving pallikaranai marshland after taking note that some 202 documents were registered pertaining to the marsh here from 1990.
In 2015, Justice Kirubakaran had expressed shock at the shrinking of pallikaranai marshland and directed the state government to furnish details on encroachment, dumping and burning of garbage and measures for its protection.