Supreme Court: The Division Bench of M.R. Shah* and B. V. Nagarathna, JJ., while dismissing the instant appeal, upheld the impugn judgment and order of High Court of Madras and held that in absence of any specific guidelines and/or definition of ‘Land Grabbing Cases’, such power can be abused or misused and can be exercised arbitrarily.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu made an announcement on 10-07-2011 that Anti Land Grabbing Special Cells will be formed in State of Tamil Nadu to deal with the Land Grabbing cases.
Eventually, the High Court of Madras set aside the Government Order because order does not define or mention ‘land grabbing cases’. The rationale behind dismissing the government order was that it gives unfettered and unguided arbitrary powers to the police officers.
In the instant case, the petitioner claimed that the High Court erred in quashing the Government Order, the Special Cells constituted for investigating the cases pertaining to land grabbing are not competent to investigate these cases.
The State argued that on the possibility of abuse and misuse of power by the police officers, a provision by the authority cannot be a ground for a legislation to be arbitrary or violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
The Supreme Court while agreeing with the decision of the High Court opined that, in absence of any specific guidelines or definition of ‘land grabbing cases’, such powers can be abused or misused and powers can be said exercised arbitrarily.
The Court further held that, if the State Government is so conscious or interested in taking action against land grabbers, it is the discretion of the State Government to bring or better the appropriate legislation with the definition of ‘land grabber’, ‘land grabbing’ and ‘land grabbing cases’ and the present order will not come in their way to enact such legislation.
[State of T.N. v. R. Thamaraiselvam, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 572, decided on 04-05-2023]
Judgment Pronounced by Justice M.R. Shah
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Appellant- R. Shunmugasundaram, Advocate.