The Madras High Court Wednesday took a serious view of lack of proper upkeep of land documents by the Tamil Nadu registration department and directed the Inspector General of Registration to appear before it on November 1.
Appalled at the dismal condition of some documents submitted in the court by a sub-registrar, Justice N Kirubakaran observed that when the basic documents were damaged or destroyed, it could be safely assumed that nobody's property was safe.
After going through a report submitted by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) complying with his earlier order on the action taken to check corruption in the registration department in the past 10 years, the judge said it only appeared to be an eye-wash.
The DVAC officials were not doing their work properly by conducting regular surprise checks, especially, when people were of the opinion that the registration department was the bedrock of corruption, the judge said.
He observed that a number of registrars were allegedly leading a luxurious life owning imported cars and using them to travel to their offices regularly and directed the DVAC to file reports on the surprise checks conducted in 2016 and 2018 and the number of those arrested.
He also directed the Inspector General of Registration to be present in the court on November 1 and submit replies to the questions posed by him.
The judge gave the interim order after the Saidapet Sub-Registrar submitted that the document related to conveying government land of 9.63 acres in Chemmananjeri village on the city outskirts in 1967 was damaged.
Justice Kirubakaran referred to a rule on preservation of documents and said the court was unable to understand as to how the documents had been so carelessly, negligently and or deliberately kept in such a manner that they have been destroyed or damaged.
When the basic documents themselves are being damaged or destroyed, it could be safely assumed that nobody's property is safe, as only the documents would speak before any Court of Law," he said.
He was hearing a petition from T Bhoopathy seeking a direction to the registration department to handover copies of some documents registered by the Sub-Registrar of Pammal. The documents were submitted Wednesday.
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