A 33-year-old legal battle to reclaim 115 grounds of government-owned land worth nearly ₹1,000 crore in the heart of Chennai has come to end. The Tamil Nadu government has reclaimed the land that was in the possession of Agri Horticultural Society, says a release.
The lands belong to the Tamil Nadu’s Horticulture Department on both sides of Cathedral Road near Anna Flyover. The British used to maintain the gardens. The Madras Agricultural Horticulture Society was established to produce plants and seedlings for it and the lease granted to it by the government was extended from time to time.
Case filed in 1998
In 1964 and 1980, efforts were made by the State government to retrieve the land. A case was filed in the High Court in 1998. An order issued on June 19, 2018, quashed the DMK government’s order to take back the land.
There was a change in the government with the AIADMK coming to power in 2001 and the issue was pending in the Madras High Court. The DMK returned to power in 2006, and pursued the case by filing an appeal in the High Court. The appeals were allowed and the High Court also set aside an order issued in 1998 of the Special Judge quashing the DMK government’s order to take back the land.
The interim order of the appeal filed by the horticulture association in the Supreme Court stated that the government can use the reclaimed land for horticulture development. A classical language park was also started for public use.
On March 6, a two-judge bench of the Madras High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the Agro-Horticulture Association against the single judge’s order. The encroached land has been in lock and seal, the release said.