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Disputes Related to Title of Property Can Never Be Adjudicated In Writ Petition Under Article 226 of Constitution: Madras High Court

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Excerpt

A Writ Petition was filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuing of Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus. It called for records of the Second Respondent pertaining to the assessment of Property Tax Receipt issued in name of the third respondent. Further directed to quash the same and direct the respondents one and two to assess the Property Tax in the name of the Petitioner in respect of a plot in Semmancheri

Facts

The Petitioner was the owner of a plot that was given to the Petitioner by the Tambaram Tahsildar. The petitioner had been paying the property tax for that property from 2013 onwards. The Present writ petition was filed to quash the order dated 01.07.2015, which was a Property Tax Receipt issued in name of the third Petitioner

Arguments 

The Petitioner contended that a land-grabbing group attempted to grab the property owned by the Petitioner. The property was purchased by the Petitioner by the way of an Unregistered Sale Deed

On the contrary as the Corporation, the respondent in the present case filed a counter-affidavit. She stated that the property was assessed in the name of the third respondent. It was under her possession and production of an unregistered Sale Deed and other documents, the property tax had been collected in the name of the third respondent from 2011. Later, the Petitioner claimed to be the owner of that property. However, the Respondent contended that the property belonged to the government. Unless the plot had been assigned by the government in favour of the 3rd respondent.

Court’s Observation

The Court opined that these disputes with reference to the title of the property could not be adjudicated in the writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. The Petitioner had to approach the Competent Civil Court for the appropriate relief. However, the statement of the Petitioner in the Affidavit created doubt, that she purchased the property through an Unregistered Sale Deed and the property tax was assessed in her name

Further, the Court observed that the claim of the petitioner could not be considered unless the Petitioner establishes that he/she was in possession and enjoyment of that property. The third respondent was in possession of the property as the property tax is being assessed in her name. This could be concluded from the evidence such as Ration Card, Voter ID, etc. Therefore the claim of the petitioner was rejected. Thus, from the affidavits and the contentions raised, the property belonged to the government. By way of executing certain unregistered documents, people were attempting to grab the government properties.

The claims made by the Petitioner and the third Respondent that the property belongs to them. Whereas the corporation claims that the property belonged to the government. Therefore, suo motu the District Collector is the fourth respondent for the purpose of conducting an inspection of the property and initiate action.

Court’s Decision

The Court held that the relief could not be granted because the ownership of the Petitioner was doubtful. The tax assessment was made in favour of the third respondent who had been paying tax for many years. Also, it was brought to the notice that the land belonged to the government and was grabbed by the encroachers.

The court held that the District Collector was bound to conduct an inspection from revenue records. He had to find if the property was being encroached. If so, District Collector was bound to institute eviction proceedings by invoking the provisions of Tamil Nadu Land Encroachment Act, 1905 and evict encroachers by the procedure under the Act. The writ petition was thus disposed of.

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