'Challenge against acquisition of Veda Nilayam be made in civil court'

A judge hitting gavel with paper at wooden table. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday

informed the Madras High Court that any challenge against its acquisition of 'Veda Nilayam,' the residence of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa can only be made before the civil court and not the High Court.

The submission was made by Advocate General Vijay Narayan while opposing a plea moved by J Deepa, Jayalalithaas legal heir in this regard.

The AG noted that Deepa had not challenged the acquisition order, but only the award and added that under Section 61 of the Land Acquisition Act, the principal judge of city civil court is the competent authority to hear such challenges.

Narayan also pointed out that the Supreme Court had made it clear that such such acquisition cannot be challenged after the award of compensation.

The petitioner's counsel G J Baskar contended that such challenge can be made under Section 63 of the Act and that his client has challenged both the acquisition and the award ordered.

Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who was hearing the case, said the petitioner can approach the High Court only when no remedy is available under any provision of the Act.

But the statute is clear that challenge against the award can be made only before the principal judge of the civil court, the judge added.

Since the hearing was interrupted due to poor network connection on petitioner counsels side, the court adjourned the hearing to August 7.

Jayalalithaa had lived at 'Veda Nilayam,' before she breathed her last in December 2016, and the state government had in 2017 announced converting the property into a memorial.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit had promulgated the ordinance in May to facilitate the temporary possession of Jayalalithaa's residence to convert it into a memorial.

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