HC seeks details of steps taken to remove encroachments

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday sought a response from the State government in a contempt petition filed in 2019 seeking a direction to the State to comply with a court’s direction to remove encroachments in Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Theni district.

A Division Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and S. Ananthi sought to know the action taken so far, pursuant to the court’s direction to remove the encroachments and restore the habitat. The case was adjourned by two weeks.

The contempt petition was filed by S. Pandi from Theni district who had also filed the original public interest litigation petition in 2017. He had sought a direction to the authorities concerned to restore the wildlife habitat in Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and to remove encroachments.

In 2018, the court had directed the authorities concerned to take appropriate action to remove all encroachments by following due process and the entire exercise had to be completed in eight weeks. However, the authorities failed to remove the encroachments, he complained.

He said contempt proceedings must be initiated against the officials for failing to comply with the order of the court. During the course of the hearing, the State informed the court that the encroachers were identified and notices served on them. The State sought additional time to file a detailed response in the case.

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