The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday cleared the decks for opening a public toilet reportedly built in 2009 at Satyasai Nagar in Jaihindpuram here but not thrown open for public use.

Disposing of a public interest litigation filed by M. Manoharan, a resident of the locality, a Division Bench of Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice S. Vimala directed the Collector to issue necessary instructions for making the toilet available for public use forthwith. The judges observed that a toilet would not require a formal inaugural function.

They made it clear that it would be the responsibility of the Corporation Commissioner to ensure that the toilet was maintained in a hygienic manner and it served the purpose for which it was constructed. In his affidavit, the petitioner said that Gandhi Silks, a city-based textile showroom, had constructed the toilet at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh and gifted it to the Corporation.

Then, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was holding majority in the Corporation council. Subsequently, there was a change in administration with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam taking a lead in the council. “Due to the change, the opening ceremony got postponed,” the petitioner said. He added that recently the council gave approval for opening a similar toilet at Palanganatham but left out the one at Jaihindpuram.

The petitioner further said that the failure of the officials to open the public toilet had led to open defecation and consequent health hazards in the locality.

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