A road will get back its original name, thanks to the high court.
The court’s order came on a petition against the alleged arbitrary rechristening of Pallichal Road to V.S. Krishnan Bhagavathar Road, in Thoppumpady.
Celine Peter, the Councillor of Division 11 under which the road falls, said she had secured permission from the Kochi Corporation to restore the name the road was born with. The name board would be repainted to ‘Pallichal’ in a couple of days, she said.
Residents of Pallichal Road — C.D. Thomas and Sudheer K. Gopal— had moved court after they, in the morning of March 3, found that the decades’ old name of the road was changed to V.S. Krishnan Bhagavathar Road. The petitioners also alleged that a lobby was at work to get road and street names in corporation limits rechristened for money.
After hearing the petition, the Bench of Justice K. Surendra Mohan gave an interim direction asking the respondents “to restore the name board of Pallichal Road in Thoppumppady division, which begins from Parry Junction and ending at M.N. Thacho Junction pending disposal of the writ petition.”
In the process, the court vacated its own March 19 interim order that allowed to maintain the changed name based on another writ filed by one V.T. Lawrence of Thoppumppady with the corporation secretary as the respondent. However, the corporation informed the court that no decision was taken by the civic body to alter the name of the road to V.S. Krishnan Bhagavathar Road. The court vacated the interim order and asked the petitioner to file a counter for further hearing posted after the vacation.
Celine Peter impleaded in petition, stating that the affidavit filed by Mr. Lawrence to secure status quo was false and misleading. “In the affidavit he had falsely stated that the name-change was effected after securing a letter from me. He also fabricated a non-existent Corporation Council agenda number to prove that the name-change was approved by the council. I had mentioned in my petition that the petitioner had taken the court for a ride by filing a false affidavit,” Ms. Peter told The Hindu.
She said to change the name of a road within the Corporation limits, the division councillor should get the proposal approved in the ward committee and get it entered in the minutes book. It should then be approved by the corporation council. No such process was followed in the case of Pallichal Road, Ms. Peter said.
Councillor of neighbouring Division 12 was allegedly behind the arbitrary name-change that sparked off the litigation, confirmed Ms. Peter and the town planning committee sources.
Mr. Thomas, one of the petitioners, said politicians were hoodwinking unsuspecting families of late community leaders. “We have nothing against the family of V.S. Krishnan but they were taken for a ride,” he said.
The corporation in response to a query under the Right to Information Act in 2009 says recommendations of names of persons for roads should entail details about the relevance of the person concerned, his or her area of work and contributions to society. Besides, existing names and those with heritage and cultural relevance will not be allowed to change.