Libertatem Magazine

Madras HC: Petition Dismissed Opposing Establishment of District Collectorate

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Rajendran, the Petitioner filed a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. He filed it against the District Collector and the Revenue and Disaster Management. The matter was heard and decided upon by a two-judge bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice N. Kirubakaran and Hon’ble Justice B. Pugalhendi.

Facts of the Case

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by the S. Rajendran, President, Tenkasi District Press Society for a writ of Mandamus. The Petitioner contended that the Government had proposed to establish the Government Medical College for the Tenkasi District. It was decided that the funding for the same would be shared by the Central and State Government in 60:40 ratio.

The Petitioner contends that the land so identified, has already been acquired for the Government Hospital at Tenkasi. The Petitioner finds that if the Government utilizes the land for establishing District Directorate, it would lead to traffic problems of sorts in the area.

Arguments Before the Court

The Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that as per Clause A.1.1(8) of the Notification of the National Medical Commission any piece of the land used for the Medical College cannot be used for any other institution. This Clause further specifically prohibits the establishment of any institution, even the educational institution including Paramedical and Nursing Institutions.

The Counsel argued that the proposal for establishment of the District Collector Office in the same premises is violative of Clause A.1.1(8) of the said Notification. The Counsel further submitted that it would also lead to several other issues including environmental issues, traffic problems, overcrowding and spread of diseases, etc. Therefore, there should not be any further development or future expansion for the Medical College.

The Counsel for the respondents submitted that Tenkasi District has been established with effect from November, 2019. The government took several steps to construct the District Collectorate for the District and to that effect identified the place at Melagaram Village, Tenkasi District. The Counsel further submitted that there are five Writ Petitions against the proposal, alleging that the said place is an agricultural land. Thus, it cannot be converted for any other purpose. 

The counsel for the respondents further maintained that the identified area is of 30.29 acres. Apart from the building already established for the District Government Hospital, there is a land to an extent of 11.11 Acres which is left unutilized. This same unutilized land had been identified as suitable place by the Government to construct the District Collector Office for Tenkasi District. 

Court’s Observations

The Court observed that even though the Tenkasi district has only been formed a year ago, its District Collectorate has not yet been established. The Court noted that the five writ petitions that the counsel for the respondents mentioned against the proposal, were dismissed on the grounds that the government would wait and decide based on the report to be filed by the Joint Inspection Committee.

It was only after the consideration of the said report that the government acquired the present site for the purpose of District Government Head Quarters Hospitals. 

The Court also observed that there wasn’t much substance in the petitioner’s argument. Merely because the petitioner says that the traffic would increase, which may cause inconvenience to the patients and may spread disease to the visitors of the Collectorate is not justified.

The Court maintained that the petitioner has moreover, failed to place any evidence/material to show that there was any proposal for construction of a Medical College Hospital in the said proposed vacant site.

The Court further noted that even if there was such a proposal, the unused 11.11 acres of land would not be suitable to build a Medical College as per the norms prescribed under the National Medical Commission Act, 2019. 

The Court observed that the present writ petition had been filed under a misconception that the District Collector has attempted to construct the District Collectorate at the place earmarked for Government Medical College.

Court’s Order

The Court dismissed the present Writ Petition styled as a Public Interest Litigation. 

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