Chennai: The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to issue circulars immediately to all District Collectors to instruct the Revenue officials concerned to conduct inspection forthwith in each and every municipal as well as local areas to find out and check illegal collection of toll fee/parking charges or any other amount collected unauthorisedly.
Justice R Mahadevan who gave the directive said circulars/notices must be issued to all concerned within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of copy of this order.
The judge said on receipt of such circulars/notices, the Revenue Divisional Officer concerned shall immediately intimate the places where the toll fees/parking charges are collected illegally, to the District Collector and also to the Superintendent of Police concerned.
If any unauthorised collection was pointed out or brought to the knowledge of the District Collector /Revenue Divisional Officer/Superintendent of Police, immediate action has to be taken against the persons involved in such practices, by initiating appropriate civil and criminal proceedings. In case of any lapses on the part of the authorities named in taking action against the erring persons/officials, the same has to be viewed very seriously and they will be held responsible for the same, the judge added.
The judge gave the directives while disposing of a petition from Om Sri Bhavani Amman Temple, which sought a direction to the authorities to ensure that one GD Mayandi or his men, agents, or any other unauthorised persons do not collect parking charges or any other charges from vehicles entering or passing through the town of Periyapalayam village in Thiruvallur district.
The judge made it clear that in respect of collection of parking charges in places like temples only legally permissible amount has to be collected by the persons duly authorised by the government. The licence holder of such collection should give proper receipt in the prescribed format to the public/users, which should contain the name of the licence holder, the amount, and the purpose for which it is collected.
Except the licence holder or the persons authorised by the authorities concerned, no one is entitled to collect any amount from the public in the form of toll fees/parking charges. “It is also made clear that the taxes/toll collected from the public have to be spent only for the purpose of improvement of the Municipal area in question as envisaged in various Acts,” the judge added.
The judge posted the matter after 12 weeks for reporting compliance....