The Madras High Court on Friday said that its interim order of November this year staying until further orders the Tamil Nadu government's decision to shift the Anna Centenary Library from Kotturpuram here amounted to forbearing the State from proceeding to make any construction for shifting the facility. It also said the present library should function as it is without any sort of interference.

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam was passing orders on a batch of writ petitions. When the matter came up, no counter affidavit was filed. Advocate-General A.Navaneethakrishnan produced a letter of the Additional Chief Secretary requesting a short adjournment for filing counter. The court allowed the prayer.

The AG sought adjournment after Pongal holidays. The Bench ordered that the case be listed on January 19, 2012.

The Bench said that in its order on November 4 it had stayed the government's decision to shift the library. “Let it be made clear that this interim direction amounts to forbearing the State from proceeding to make any construction for the purpose of shifting the library. The present library shall function as it is without any sort of interference.”

In a public interest litigation petition, Kavignar Ilayabharathi of Mylapore detailed the salient features of the library. The library was a world class facility with various unique features and was student-friendly. The present building was constructed only for a library. Hence, any attempt to convert it for any other purpose would defeat the actual objective. When the building was constructed specifically for a library after obtaining permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it could not be put to any other use.

He sought to declare the State government's decision to shift the library and convert the present building into a hospital as null and void.

The petitioner's counsel, P.Wilson, said after the government's decision to shift the library from Kotturpuram to the DPI campus at Nungambakkam, there were restrictions for the public to have access to the library. Periodicals and journals were not being acquired.

By another petition, R.Gandhi, senior advocate of Adyar here, sought to forbear the authorities from shifting the library from Kotturpuram to any other place.