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Madras High Court dismisses PIL against road on top of canal

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The Madras High Court has recently dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking a direction to the respondent authorities to remove the encroachment by private respondents on the Rajavaikkal canal running from new Karuppur lake to old Karuppur lake.

The PIL has been filed by one N. Rajan. A photograph has been enclosed along with the petition to demonstrate construction of the road covering the canal and, therefore, a prayer is made to direct the respondent authorities to maintain the canal by removing the road. The petitioner has also enclosed a map to show the existence of the road.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala asked the counsel for the petitioner to indicate as to when the road was constructed covering the canal in reference to the representation given, where allegations have been made against the private respondents for construction of a road.

“By mere production of photograph, the allegation may not be proved as such, because many houses are facing the road and if it would have been a canal, learned counsel for the petitioner could not answer as to how the houses shown in the photograph were having access to the road. That apart, it is absolutely a factual issue as to where the canal exists and the same cannot be determined while exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India,” observed the Court.

The further allegation in the representation is qua the damage to the drainage system and water pipeline due to plying of heavy vehicles to bring materials for construction, for which the Bench opined that though no documents and photographs have been produced to show the existence of construction materials which are alleged to have been brought through heavy vehicles by the private respondents. Rather, the photograph does not show recent construction of any building. Therefore, the allegations remain unsubstantiated.

Taking into consideration the overall facts of the case, the issue raised in the writ petition being purely factual cannot be examined by the Court and otherwise, the petitioner has failed to substantiate the allegations made by him, held the Bench while dismissing the PIL.

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