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Madras HC stays panchayat’s eviction order against trust occupying government land in Cuddalore

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Chennai, May 15 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Wednesday stayed an eviction order passed by the South Seppalanatham village panchayat in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore, directing the Suddha Sanmarga Nilayam trust in Vadalur to vacate 1.56 acres of land, declared as a wasteland in government records. A division bench of Justices P.T. Asha and N. Senthilkumar granted the interim stay.A civil suit filed by the trust claiming title over the property was pending before a court in Neyveli.In an affidavit filed on behalf of the trust, its secretary R. Selvaraj, 80, said, the trust was founded 73 years ago to propagate the philosophical ideas and teachings of Saint Ramalinga Adigalar alias Vallalar, through the establishment of educational and charitable institutions.Counsel for the petitioner said that then (Madras Residency) Chief Minister Omandur Ramaswamy Reddiar was the founding trustee of the trust, which runs orphanages, and free boarding schools for the poor, and conducts educational programmes for the downtrodden and the needy.The Trust’s Secretary said that the 1.56 acres, falling under Survey number 130/2A3 in Seerankuppam village, were under the trust’s possession all along, but the survey number did not find a mention in the transfer of property documents, and this inadvertent mistake was overlooked by everyone, including the trust.He alleged that in 2023, the President of South Seppalanatham village panchayat developed a grudge against the trust because many of his demands were turned down, and began creating trouble over the 1.56 acres, claiming that they continue to be listed as government lands.The trust immediately made an application to the Virudhachalam Taluk Tehsildar to make necessary amendments and declare the trust as the owner of the property in the revenue records.The Tehsildar, according to the secretary, conducted an inquiry on the issue by hearing both sides but is yet to take a decision.In the meantime, the President of South Seppalanatham village panchayat had passed an eviction order on May 6, asking the trust to remove all the encroachments from the 1.56 acres of government waste land and therefore, the trust had filed the present writ petition.–IANSaal/vd

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