The Madras High Court on Tuesday reserved orders on a petition by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) seeking to forbid the authorities from demolishing or modifying the heritage structure of the P.Orr and Sons building on Anna Salai.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M.Venugopal reserved orders on conclusion of arguments.

In its petition, INTACH, represented by its convenor, Sriram Venkatakrishnan, challenged the decision of the Chennai Corporation and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to permit the demolition of a part of the building in gross violation of the Development Control Rules (DCR) and a High Court judgment of 2006.

When the matter came up, the petitioner's counsel submitted that the DCR laid down special rules for the conservation of heritage buildings. That mandated that no development or redevelopment or additions and alterations of the heritage buildings should be carried out except with the prior written permission of the Member-Secretary, CMDA. The counsel's main contention was that in the present case, the consultation was not done and the CMDA issued a letter to the CMRL that a portion of the building was not a heritage structure.

Advocate-General A. Navaneethakrishnan said the portion of the building sought to be acquired for Metro Rail was not a heritage structure.

Counsel for Associated Publishers (Madras) Ltd., whose tenant was P.Orr and Sons, said the notification and the declaration under the Land Acquisition Act had been passed. The award had also been passed. The compensation was yet to be received.

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