The Madras High Court recently issued an interim order directing two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs from Puducherry and their family members to return a temple property that they were accused of acquiring illegally.
Here’s a summary of the key points from the case:
Accusations: BJP legislators A John Kumar and his son VivilianRichards John Kumar, who are both MLAs, along with their family members, were accused of illegally obtaining ownership of land parcels that belonged to the Kamatchiamman Temple in Puducherry.
Temple Trust’s Claim: The temple trust claimed that it had owned these properties since 1935 and had been in continuous possession of them for over 80 years. They alleged that fraudulent documents were used to take over the temple’s properties over the years.
Nexus Allegation: The temple’s counsel alleged a connection between bureaucrats from the Puducherry administration and politicians in the land-grabbing activities.
Court’s Intervention: The Madras High Court, during the admission of the plea, included the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department of Puducherryin the case. The court instructed the police to investigate the criminal allegations against the two sitting MLAs and their family members.
Shocking Revelations: After reviewing the investigation reports, the court noted “shocking revelations” about the documents and the actions of government officials involved in the case.
Accused’s Response: The accused individuals claimed in court that they had no role in the alleged land grabbing and asserted that they were “innocent purchasers.” They also expressed their willingness to return the land if the temple trust could prove its ownership.
Court’s Decision: The court directed the Puducherryadministration to take possession of the entire temple land and return it to the temple administration until further orders.
Expectations of Public Representatives: The court emphasized that public representatives, like the accused MLAs, are expected to be truthful and trustworthy public servants who uphold constitutional principles and serve the interests of their constituents. It stated that their involvement in criminal allegations cannot be tolerated.
Continuation of Probe: The court ruled that since the father-son duo held public posts and were expected to be truthful, they must cooperate with the ongoing probe conducted by the Puducherry CB-CID.
Future Proceedings: The matter was scheduled to be listed for further proceedings after six weeks following the completion of the investigation.
In summary, the Madras High Court’s interim order directed the accused BJP MLAs and their family members to return the disputed temple property, pending the completion of the investigation to determine the rightful owners. The court expressed its expectations of public representatives and emphasized the need for their cooperation in the probe.