"No registering authority under the Registration Act shall register any document in respect of any land which has been notified as water body in the revenue records of the State," the Madras High Court ruled on Thursday. "The authorities concerned should mandatorily obtain a statement from the applicants, who want to register their property or seek approval for the lay-out or building construction or assessment of property tax or electricity or water connection, that the property concerned is not located on a water body," the first bench of Acting Chief Justice MN Bhandari and Justice P D Audikesavalu said.
It shall be ensured by the authority granting approval for the lay-out or building construction or assessment of property tax or electricity or water connection that the relevant property has not been notified as water body in the list published in the official website, viz., 'Tamil Nilam' of the TN government and physical inspection of the site shall be made so as to confirm that it is not located in water body and an office note for the same shall be prepared and placed on record.
"Any public authority, official or other staff concerned, who is found to have granted or aided or abetted in granting approval for lay-out or building construction or assessment of property tax or electricity or water connection for a property located on water body, or commits dereliction of duty by not protecting a water body from encroachment, shall be liable for disciplinary action under the relevant rules governing their employment and prosecution for offences relating to encroachment under Criminal Law," the court ruled. These directions should be complied with scrupulously, the bench added.
The bench made it clear that nothing said in this order shall be construed as precluding any land, which has not been included in the list of water bodies produced before this Court, to be independently treated as 'water body' by the competent authority on satisfaction with necessary supporting materials in proof of the same. The bench was passing final orders on a batch of PILs from KK Ramesh of Madurai and others filed both before the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court and the principal seat here.
With PTI Inputs