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Delay in enforcing HC directive alleged

Staff Reporter
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LONG WAIT:Pallichal Road at Thoppumpady was renamed V.S. Krishnan Bhagavathar Road onMarch 3. — File Photo
LONG WAIT:Pallichal Road at Thoppumpady was renamed V.S. Krishnan Bhagavathar Road onMarch 3. — File Photo

Irked by the delay on the part of civic authorities in implementing the High Court’s direction to restore the original name of a road at Thoppumppady, the petitioners are now planning to approach the court with a contempt of court petition.

The High Court directive was issued more than a week ago.

Pallichal Road in division 11 of Kochi Corporation was found renamed V.S. Krishnan Bhagavathar Road on the morning of March 3 apparently without the knowledge of the division councillor.

Though division councillor Celine Peter had initially said boards with the original name would replace the new name boards within a couple of days from the date of verdict, it is yet to happen. Ms. Peter has said that a letter from the corporation additional secretary is awaited.

Additional Secretary K.M. Basheer said he had marked the High Court order and forwarded it to the town planning section. But the matter had not come before him since then.

Town Planning Committee chairman K.J. Sohan dismissed allegations of delay in restoring the original name as a non issue. Stating that the necessary orders had already been issued for the restoration, he said that the procedures called for some time.

At a time when works under the people’s plan campaign are on in high gear, placing a couple of name boards may not get the top priority, he said.

However, C.D. Thomas, one of the two petitioners from Thoppumppady who had approached the High Court, countered this argument. “Three boards with the new name appeared on the road overnight in a matter of hours. But they are hanging on to technicalities now when the High Court has asked for replacing those boards,” he said.

Meanwhile, the case, which is slated for further hearing after vacation, has taken a twist. V.T. Lawrence, on whose petition the High Court had initially issued an interim order allowing the changed name to stand, has filed a letter with the court claiming it was written by the division councillor recommending restoration of the original name.

It was vacating this order that the High Court passed an interim direction asking the Corporation authorities to maintain the original name.

However, P.K. Ibrahim, the lawyer for the petitioners Mr. Thomas and Sudheer K. Gopal, said that it could only be a forged letter. Ms. Peter, who had impleaded in the case, confirmed that she had never written such a letter.

“My client had examined the letter and vouched that the signature on the letter was forged,” Mr. Ibrahim said.

He further said that since the court direction did not mention any time limit for the restoration of the original name, it was explicit that the direction was supposed to be implemented promptly.

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