Dismissing the plea filed by former AIADMK MP R. Gopalakrishnan who sought to unlock and unseal the office premises that had been allotted to him by Madurai Corporation, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that persons holding public office were supposed to vacate and hand over the office premises after their tenure was over.
Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed that persons holding a public office like Member of Parliament and Member of the Legislative Assembly were not expected to squat on public property. The court observed that the petitioner does not have any vested right to continue possession of the property.
The judge observed that the petitioner was utilising the property given by the Corporation as an office space in his capacity as an MP and once he ceases to be an MP he loses his right to occupy the property. The court would have directed the removal of the lock and seal if it was the petitioner’s private premises, taking into account that the election was over. The court observed that it was left open to the Corporation to utilise the office premises after removing the lock and seal. If there were any arrears, it was left open to the Corporation to collect the same from the petitioner and any articles in the office premises belonging to the former MP could be handed over to him. Mr. Gopalakrishnan said that he was allotted the office premises by Madurai Corporation on a rental basis in 2014. During the 2021 assembly elections, banners in the office premises were removed and subsequently the office was kept under lock and seal. The steps were taken by the election flying squad based on a complaint.
Even after the election was over the office remained under lock and seal, he complained. He said that he had also sent several representations to the authorities concerned in this regard. The petitioner sought a direction to the authorities to unlock and unseal the office premises by considering his representation. A probe based on the complaint is pending.
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