The writ petition passed by J. Deepa challenges the award passed by the Land Acquisition Officer on July 22 for acquiring her aunt’s residence Veda Nilayam at Poes Garden in Chennai.
The State government on Tuesday opposed a writ petition filed by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s niece J. Deepa, contending that she should approach only the City Civil Court and not the Madras High Court, challenging the award passed by the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) on July 22 for acquiring her aunt’s residence Veda Nilayam at Poes Garden.
When the petition was listed before Justice N. Anand Venkatesh, Advocate General Vijay Narayan said there was a difference between a writ petition already filed by her brother J. Deepak, who had challenged the entire land acquisition proceedings itself, and the one filed by her now challenging the award passed by the LAO after the conclusion of the proceedings.
The A-G stated that the award passed by the Chennai South Revenue Divisional Officer, in his capacity as LAO, could be challenged only before the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority constituted under Section 51 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act of 2013.
As far as Chennai city is concerned, the principal judge of the City Civil Court had been designated as the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority and Ms. Deepa would have to necessarily move only the City Civil Court and the present writ petition could not be maintained before the High Court, Mr. Narayan contended.
On the other hand, the petitioner’s counsel G.J. Baskar Narayan claimed that Section 63 of the 2013 Act categorically states that no civil court, other than the High Court or the Supreme Court, would have jurisdiction to entertain any dispute relating to land acquisition under the Act and that no injunction should be granted by any court in respect of such matters.
However, since the judge could not hear him in full due to the lawyer’s inability to connect to the virtual court facility seamlessly, he adjourned the hearing to Friday. Justice Venkatesh had on July 16 referred Mr. Deepak’s writ petition to a Division Bench which had declared him and his sister as the legal heirs of Jayalalithaa on May 27.
In her present plea, Ms. Deepa had challenged the award on the ground that acquisition of Veda Nilayam might hamper the inquiry by Justice A. Arumughaswamy Commission into the death of Jayalalithaa since it was from the residence that she got shifted to Apollo Hospitals on September 22, 2016 and died on December 5, 2016.
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