Madras High Court orders removal of all encroachments from Chitlapakkam lake

The court also insisted upon ensuring adequate safeguards, including deployment of personnel, to keep a watch on the water body to make sure that no further encroachments take place in the future

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the State government to evict all 403 encroachments identified by it on the Chitlapakkam lake in Chennai after following the due process of law.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy ordered that notices should be issued to the encroachers under the Tamil Nadu Protection of Tanks and Eviction of Encroachments Act, 2007.

The government was also directed to aggressively defend litigations, if any, resorted to by the encroachers challenging the action taken by the government to evict them from the water body land.

The court, further insisted upon ensuring adequate safeguards, including deployment of personnel, to keep a watch on the water body to make sure that no further encroachments take place in the future.

The interim orders were passed on a public interest litigation petition filed by non governmental organisation Arappor Iyakkam in 2019 complaining about large scale encroachments on the sprawling water body that helps maintain the ecology and ground water table.

When the case was heard last in April this year, the government reported to the court that it had found 403 encroachments and taken steps to evict all of them but some encroachers had obtained interim stays from single judges of the court.

The government sought a couple of months to clear all the encroachments. However, when the case was taken up on Tuesday, it was reported that the encroachments could not be removed due to the lockdown imposed to fight the second wave of COVID-19.

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