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Plans to build world class oceanarium revived; former landowners oppose the move in Tamil Nadu

Reported by

Viswanathan Shridhar

Legal Review by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Radhika Chatterjee

Updated by

Updated by

Published on

February 22, 2023

February 27, 2023

Edited on

February 22, 2023

Sector

Infrastructure

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Infrastructure

Proposed Oceanarium

Starting Year

2012

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

6

ha

Households Affected by Conflict

29

People Affected by Conflict

29

State

Tamil Nadu

Sector

Infrastructure

People Affected by Conflict

29

Households Affected by Conflict

29

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

6

ha

Starting Year

2012

Location of Conflict

Mahabalipuram

Devaneri

Chengalpattu

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Other Kind of Infrastructure

Proposed Oceanarium

Land Conflict Summary

In 2013, the then Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu announced plans for setting up of an Oceanarium at Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram. Located in Chengalpattu district, Mahabalipuram is an ancient port city of India.

In 2014, the Tamil Nadu government published a policy note detailing its ambitious world class oceanarium at the Devaneri Village of Mahabalipuram. The project plan was prepared by the Fisheries Department in coordination with Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TNTDC) at an estimated cost of Rs.257.59 crores spreading across 13.07 acres. This project was first thought of in 1974 but gathered pace from 2014.

Land for the project however was acquired from 29 individuals in 1974 itself. The total land acquired amounted to 15.02 acres by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation jointly with the then Kancheepuram (now Chengalpattu) District Collector.

The oceanarium was deemed as the sole purpose of acquisition. According to the affected landowners, the land was kept idle until 2012. This made them file a writ petition in the Madras High Court with the demand to reclaim their land under section 48 B of the Land Acquisition (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1948 and section 24(2) of Land Acquisition Act of 2013.

In 2016, the state fisheries department floated a tender for the construction of the project.

It was only in November 2021, the Madras High Court dismissed all the writ petitions filed by the former land owners. The reasoning offered by the court was that since the land acquisition proceedings had been completed and they had already received compensation, their claims did not stand.

While the land still remains with TNTDC, the project is still to take off.

Fact Sheet

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to get back acquired land

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Details of sources (names of accused, names and numbers of any lawyers, names of any police officers contacted)

Status of Project

Project underway despite protests

Original Project Deadline

2017

Whether the Project has been Delayed

Significance of Land to Land Owners/Users

Agricultural land

Whether the project was stalled due to land conflict

No

Source/Reference

Total investment involved (in Crores):

257.59

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2014

Page Number In Investment Document:

8

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Legal Data

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2014
Section 24 [Provision which allows the new Land Acquisition Act to be applicable in cases where possession of the land has not been taken by the government or compensation has not been paid to the landowners for the land acquisition]
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 6 [Government to publish a notification that land is being acquired for public purpose]; Section 48 [Completion of land acquisition is not compulsory by government but compensation must be awarded to petitioners when land acquisition is withdrawn] Section 48-B, inserted through state amendments [When the government has withdrawn the land acquisition, it may transfer the land back to the original landowners once the compensation amount is repaid to the government]
Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal & Ors. (SLP (C) Nos. 9036-9038 of 2016, Supreme Court)
The Supreme Court stated that for land acquisition initiated under the 1894 Act to lapse, the twin requirements of Section 24(2), LARR 2013 must be fulfilled. These requirements are that the physical possession of the land was not taken by the government and the compensation has not been paid/ tendered/ deposited in accordance with law.
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

No

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

No items found.

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Madras High Court

Case Number

WP 18002 - 18007 of 2012 and connected cases

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Several writ petitions filed by affected landowners in this dispute were disposed of by a common order on November 1, 2021. The final land acquisition notifications were passed under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 in 1977. The petitioners were subsequent purchasers of the land who had not received the compensation for the acquired land. The landowners contended that the land had not been utilized since it had been acquired in 1986. They requested for reconveyance of their respective lands. However, the Court stated that possession had been taken by the government and handed over to the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. Further, all the writ petitioners had received their respective compensation. The Court stated that the petitioners had failed to prove the twin requirements under Section 24(2) of the LARR Act, 2013, i.e., the physical possession of the land was not taken and the compensation has not been paid/ tendered/ deposited in accordance with law. However, the Court also stated that those landowners who had not received compensation, would be entitled to compensation under the 2013 Act.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Additional Information

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Fisheries Department, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, Revenue Department, Commissionerate of Land Administration

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

No

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Information on the use of criminal law

What was the action taken by the police?

How many people did the police detain or arrest?

What is the current status of the detained/accused persons?

Did the person face any violence while in police custody?

If any arrests took place, were the accused persons produced before a judge within 24 hours of the arrest?

If the accused was not produced before a magistrate within 24 hours, or not produced at all, what were the reasons?

Legislation under which the accused was charged

Was the accused person informed of their right to legal representation? Did the accused person have access to legal aid?

In cases where the accused person approached the court for bail, was bail granted?

Why was bail granted or rejected? If granted, what were the bail conditions and quantum of bail?

Were there any other notable irregularities that took place, or other significant details?

Resources

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Images

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Video

In 2013, the then Finance Minister of Tamil Nadu announced plans for setting up of an Oceanarium at Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram. Located in Chengalpattu district, Mahabalipuram is an ancient port city of India.

In 2014, the Tamil Nadu government published a policy note detailing its ambitious world class oceanarium at the Devaneri Village of Mahabalipuram. The project plan was prepared by the Fisheries Department in coordination with Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TNTDC) at an estimated cost of Rs.257.59 crores spreading across 13.07 acres. This project was first thought of in 1974 but gathered pace from 2014.

Land for the project however was acquired from 29 individuals in 1974 itself. The total land acquired amounted to 15.02 acres by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation jointly with the then Kancheepuram (now Chengalpattu) District Collector.

The oceanarium was deemed as the sole purpose of acquisition. According to the affected landowners, the land was kept idle until 2012. This made them file a writ petition in the Madras High Court with the demand to reclaim their land under section 48 B of the Land Acquisition (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1948 and section 24(2) of Land Acquisition Act of 2013.

In 2016, the state fisheries department floated a tender for the construction of the project.

It was only in November 2021, the Madras High Court dismissed all the writ petitions filed by the former land owners. The reasoning offered by the court was that since the land acquisition proceedings had been completed and they had already received compensation, their claims did not stand.

While the land still remains with TNTDC, the project is still to take off.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to get back acquired land

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

257.59

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2014

Page Number In Investment Document:

8

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 2014
Section 24 [Provision which allows the new Land Acquisition Act to be applicable in cases where possession of the land has not been taken by the government or compensation has not been paid to the landowners for the land acquisition]
Land Acquisition Act, 1894
Section 6 [Government to publish a notification that land is being acquired for public purpose]; Section 48 [Completion of land acquisition is not compulsory by government but compensation must be awarded to petitioners when land acquisition is withdrawn] Section 48-B, inserted through state amendments [When the government has withdrawn the land acquisition, it may transfer the land back to the original landowners once the compensation amount is repaid to the government]
Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal & Ors. (SLP (C) Nos. 9036-9038 of 2016, Supreme Court)
The Supreme Court stated that for land acquisition initiated under the 1894 Act to lapse, the twin requirements of Section 24(2), LARR 2013 must be fulfilled. These requirements are that the physical possession of the land was not taken by the government and the compensation has not been paid/ tendered/ deposited in accordance with law.
  1. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  2. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  3. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  4. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  5. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  6. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

  7. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

No

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

No items found.

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Disposed

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Madras High Court

Case Number

WP 18002 - 18007 of 2012 and connected cases

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Several writ petitions filed by affected landowners in this dispute were disposed of by a common order on November 1, 2021. The final land acquisition notifications were passed under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 in 1977. The petitioners were subsequent purchasers of the land who had not received the compensation for the acquired land. The landowners contended that the land had not been utilized since it had been acquired in 1986. They requested for reconveyance of their respective lands. However, the Court stated that possession had been taken by the government and handed over to the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation. Further, all the writ petitioners had received their respective compensation. The Court stated that the petitioners had failed to prove the twin requirements under Section 24(2) of the LARR Act, 2013, i.e., the physical possession of the land was not taken and the compensation has not been paid/ tendered/ deposited in accordance with law. However, the Court also stated that those landowners who had not received compensation, would be entitled to compensation under the 2013 Act.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

No

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Fisheries Department, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, Revenue Department, Commissionerate of Land Administration

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Sandeep Nanduri IAS, Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

Text Link

Reviewed By

Text Link

Updated By

Text Link

Edited By

Text LinkLand Conflict Watch

Other Land Conflicts in Tamil Nadu

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