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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

P Chidambaram kin's compound wall demolished - Ignorance of Law !!

Sure you have heard this before : Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat – a legal principle.   As citizens,  people are expected to be law abiding and they are  expected to know and obey all laws, in addition to state and local statutes and the relevant court opinions that interpret the breadth and depth of all of those laws.

Few days ago, our Finance Minister the learned P Chidambaram in response to a query on food inflation, gave an elaborate answer on how a hike in procurement prices inevitably led to higher food prices.  He said, with particular reference to Indian middle class that they were prepared to pay fifteen rupees for a bottle of water but will not bear one rupee increase in the price of a kilo of wheat or a kilo of rice. ‘We are prepared to pay rupees twenty for an ice cream cone but won’t pay one rupee more for a kilo of wheat or rice.”  He later quipped that he was quoted out of context…… 

Chidambaram Palaniappan, the  current FM is a rich man, hails from a rich and educated family.  He is known as articulate, intelligent lawyer; has been in politics for long and has been a Minister handling important portfolios during different regimes.  His wife, Ms Nalini Chidambaram is also a famous lawyer.   Today he is news not for his economic reforms or any Rupee Vs Dollar related thing – but because of a compound wall; demolition of wall to be precise. 

Newspaper reports state that a  compound wall of a plot belonging to family members of Union finance minister P Chidambaram was demolished on 25th Sept.12 morning following complaints from fishermen that it had encroached upon government land. Some fishermen in the locality had earlier complained of the encroachment. A team of revenue officials inspected and measured the 5.4-hectare property by the Karikattukuppam backwaters off the scenic East Coast Road. The land is registered in the names of five people including Chidambaram's wife Nalini and their son Karti.   The collector L Chithirasenan is quoted as saying that after measurement of the land, it was found that 10.5 cents of land was encroached upon by them. 

Advocate N R R Arun Natarajan, who represented Nalini Chidambaram and Karthi Chidambaram, said there was no intended encroachment. "We asked the revenue officials to measure the property as per documents available with my clients and the village records. They measured and informed us that a portion of the wall was outside the land. We immediately demolished the portion of the compound wall," he said.  Chengalpet tahsildar M Elango said the land owners arranged for an earthmover to demolish the wall and remove a gate. Elango, who visited the spot, was accompanied by local village administrative officer Prakash and a revenue officer. "The boundary of the property is zig-zag. The land owners should have properly measured their land before building the wall," he said.

It is reported in many sections of the Press that Kancheepuram district collector L Chithirasenan, who assumed office early this month, had received a letter from town and the country planning commissioner A Karthik about coastal regulations zone violations by a real estate promoter at Karikattukuppam. Following the report, the district administration had instructed officials to conduct surveys and submit reports before September 27. Constructions along the coast are being monitored by a three-member committee presided by the district collector. Two other members are the deputy director of the Kancheepuram district town and country planning and deputy engineer of the state pollution control board.

Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat  - in Latin means  "ignorance of the law does not excuse" or "ignorance of the law excuses no one" -  it is a  legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content.  The rationale of the doctrine is that if ignorance were an excuse, a person charged with criminal offenses or a subject of a civil lawsuit would merely claim that he or she is unaware of the law in question to avoid liability, even though the person really does know what the law in question is. Thus, the law imputes knowledge of all laws to all persons within the jurisdiction no matter how transiently.

The learned FM whose wife is also a leading advocate goes on record stating that encroachment was not intentional……. – and common man only has to believe and watch the happenings…

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
26th Sept. 2012.

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