CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Housing Board's (TNHB) arbitrary rental and sale policy may come in the way of its bid to retain ownership over about 20 houses in the prime CIT Colony area in Nandanam, as the Madras high court has asked the board to maintain status quo as on date with regard to the property.
A division bench comprising Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh granted the interim relief to a batch of 17 tenants recently, though the tenants, who wanted the home/land to be sold to them, had lost two rounds of litigation to TNHB earlier.
In spite of the earlier reverses, they earned a reprieve now, after they pointed out several anomalies and discriminatory treatment by TNHB. The tenants said they were entitled to the allotment of the land under hire purchase scheme.
In July 2014, the same division bench had dismissed the appeals filed by the tenants. In their review plea, they said the case was closed without their counsel being allowed to complete arguments, and that several key factors had not been taken into account.
For instance, contesting the TNHB stand in the court that since 2007 the board had a policy of not making permanent allotments to existing tenants, the tenants cited two specific cases of Padmanaban and Jayakumar who too were TNHB tenants in the same locality but were given permanent allotment in 2008.
Highlighting the case of TNHB employee K Senthil Kumar, they said he had been allotted three TNHB residential plots in Tambaram, Sholinganallur and Nerkundram. The employee got the allotments though he was not even eligible to apply for TNHB plots, as he owned a residential house in his or his wife's name. Elaborating, they said the Tambaram land was initially allotted to Senthil Kumar's brother-in-law on September 23, 2010, and the latter registered a settlement deed in favour of his sister who is none other than Senthil Kumar's wife the very next day. Ultimately, Senthil Kumar became owner of a TNHB land allotted to his brother-in-law.
Another TNHB employee, R Nalini, too was offered an alternative accommodation at Nandanam colony, whereas similar claimants from outside the TNHB were given step-motherly treatment, they said.
Noting that the policy of the TNHB on certain issues would not automatically become the policy decision of the government, the tenants wanted the court to review its own orders and ask the board to offer the lands in permanent allotment to them under hire purchase scheme.