The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court ordered status quo to be maintained on an appeal preferred against a single judge order granting permission to convert a temple land, notified as agricultural land, to operate salt pans in Vilathikulam in Thoothukudi district.
A Division Bench of Justices Pushpa Sathyanarayana and P. Velmurugan ordered status quo on the appeal filed by M. Lingaraj of Vilathikulam, who said a portion of the temple land was allotted to a few individuals on lease to do agricultural work.
The land was allotted for a period of three years in 2016 in order to generate revenue for the temple. But, the agricultural land was converted into a salt pan. Following this, the villagers lodged a complaint against the individuals.
The appellant said this also led to pollution of a tank since the waste water from the salt pan was being let into the water body. A representation was made in this regard to the authorities, but no action was taken. Later, it was said that the land was permitted to be used as a salt pan.
He said this would affect agricultural works and the nearby tank. The single bench of the High Court had dismissed the petition on the ground that the land was permitted to be converted as a salt pan after obtaining a ‘no-objection certificate’ from the Agricultural Department. The appellant sought a stay of the order.
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