News Brief

Madras High Court Rejects DMK-Affiliated Murasoli Trust's Petition, Allows Scheduled Castes Commission Inquiry Into Panchami Land Case

Nayan Dwivedi

Jan 10, 2024, 05:00 PM | Updated 05:00 PM IST

Madras High Court.
Madras High Court.

The Madras High Court has rejected a writ petition filed by the Murasoli Trust, affiliated with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party, seeking to prevent the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) from investigating a complaint accusing the trust of occupying 12 grounds of Panchami land in Chennai.

Justice S M Subramaniam ruled that an inquiry by the commission was necessary to ascertain the truth about the land's character and safeguard the interests of scheduled caste members.

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The judge while dismissing the Trust's charge of bias against L Murugan, the former vice-chairman of NCSC, emphasised that Murugan's notices had lost relevance since he had left the NCSC to become the Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying.

Justice Subramaniam directed the NCSC to issue a fresh notice to the trust, allowing an opportunity for a hearing to all concerned parties and urging the commission to proceed with the inquiry without being influenced by prior observations.

While the Chennai Collector presented records dating back to 1912, classifying the land as Ryotwari and not Panchami, the judge noted that the complainant's counsel had highlighted discrepancies in those documents.

As reported by The Hindu, Justice Subramaniam also emphasised that the NCSC, not the High Court, should delve into disputed facts related to land classification through a detailed inquiry, stating, "The High Court in writ proceedings cannot usurp the powers of the commission."

The judge criticised the petitioner for approaching the court without adequate reason and seeking a writ to restrain the commission, stating that it would impede the natural course of legal proceedings required by the Commission.

It's important to note that the controversy rose after DMK President M K Stalin praised the movie "Asuran" for its courageous questioning of casteism and recovery of "Panchami" lands in Tamil Nadu.

However, his statement backfired when Pattali Makkal Katchi party leader Dr S Ramadoss trolled him, asking if he would return the "Panchami" lands on which DMK's Murasoli journal stands.

Stalin clarified that Murasoli was on private land, offering to quit politics if proven otherwise.

The issue then reached the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

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Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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