A SITTING of the San Fernando High Court was convened yesterday at the Churkoo Village Hindu Mandir in Cedar Hill near Princes Town. This as a judge presiding in a land dispute case between devotees of the mandir and the land owner, visited the disputed land along with two former attorney generals, court staff and heavily armed police.
Samaroo Raghoonanan, 75, is contending that he bought the land which is adjoining the temple over 16 years ago and has a deed as proof. The mandir’s executive members, Artma Maharaj who is the pundit; Shiva Mohan Mahabir and Reuben Pariag are claiming in their lawsuit filed against Raghoonanan, that they have been in constant and uninterreupted occupation for over 16 years.
They graded and back-filled the land and only after they did so, Raghoonanan asserted his authority over the land. The adjoining parcel of land is used by the mandir’s devotees as a car park. The mandir is an affiliate of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha and based on adverse possession, the pundit and executive members obtained an injunction against Raghoonanan earlier this year.
Justice James Aboud granted that injunction after Raghoonanan moved onto the land and placed boulders which prevented devotees from parking. Yesterday, Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh who is presiding over the land dispute case, visited the disputed land.
The judge, accompanied by staff and police, convened court on the disputed property. Former attorney generals Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, and Anand Ramlogan, SC, are representing Raghoonanan and the mandir’s executive respectively. Maharaj is instructed by Stephen Boodram while Ramlogan is instructed by Alvin Pariagsingh.
Justice Boodoosingh examined the boundaries and questioned Raghoonanan and pundit Maharaj about the backfilling. Maharaj and Ramlogan also cross-examined the pundit and Raghoonanan, respectively. The court session brought an end to the case and the judge said he will deliver his ruling in January.