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Madras HC Asks Petitioner to Implead Owner of Wall That Collapsed Killing 17 Dalits
Stating that the deceased belonged to the scheduled caste, the petitioner said the landowner belongs to a dominant caste Hindu community and said that he constructed the 'untouchability' wall to isolate the Dalit people from his two-acre property.
File photo of the Madras High Court.
Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed a petitioner, who filed a PIL on a recent wall collapse that claimed the lives of 17 people, to implead the owner on whose
land the wall was put up.
Stating that the deceased belonged to the scheduled caste, the petitioner said the land owner belongs to a dominant caste Hindu community and alleged that he constructed the 'untouchability' wall to isolate the Dalit people from his two-acre property.
According to the petitioner, the Constitution of India abolishes untouchability but in reality it has been practised. "It is high time the government take steps at least to
remove or demolish such walls," he said and wanted the court to order an investigation against the officials.
The petitioner said the officials did not remove the wall in spite of locals bringing to the notice of the authorities that it was weak and posed a danger. He also sought a direction to alter the FIR and include the necessary provisions of the SC/ST Act and payment of adequate compensation for the victims
Sivasubramanian, a textile showroom owner, was arrested on December 2, a day after a portion of the damp 15-foot high compound wall came crashing down on adjoining tiled roof
houses in Nadur village, over 50 km from Coimbatore, burying alive the 17 people, including ten women and two children.
The wall has already been demolished by the district administration following an outcry from the locals and political parties that it was constructed to discriminate against Dalits living nearby
A Division Bench, comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice R Hemalatha, before which the PIL from K Samuelraj came up on Thursday, directed the petitioner to also file the rules existent at therelevant point of time of the construction of the wall.
The bench said the petitioner should verify whetherthe scheduled caste settlement is an encroachment or not or whether any 'patta' has been granted in favour of the
residents and to implead officials against whom allegations have been levelled and posted the matter to January 24.
The petitioner said "Apart from the individual (Sivasubramaniam) who has constructed the wall, the local administration which had ignored complaints on the condition of the wall is also responsible for the incident."
The petitioner further said there was no such wall in the front side of the owner's bungalow, indicating that the wall was nothing but a physical manifestation of caste discrimination.
The police were negligent in stating that the wall collapsed due to the incessant rains but failed to take into account that there was no necessity to construct this kind of wall, he submitted.
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