There can be no direction to the legislature commanding it to sit at a place other than Fort St. George, the Tamil Nadu government submitted before the Madras High Court on Wednesday.
In an additional counter-affidavit to a writ petition by R.Veeramani of MKB Nagar, Vyasarpadi here, challenging the government’s policy decision to convert the newly-constructed Assembly complex at the Omandurar Estate here into a multi-super specialty hospital, the Deputy Secretary, PWD, C.Subramanian, said the choice of place of meeting of the legislature was a constitutional prerogative and the absolute discretion of the Governor. It was a matter of legislative procedure concerning the assembly of MLAs for transacting legislative business. Where the legislature endorses the determination of the place of its meeting and its secretariat, there could be no public interest litigation petition for questioning the decision. This would not be justiciable either. The affidavit said that in the present case, the Governor’s decision regarding the meeting of the House at Fort St.George was also incorporated as a matter in his special address and the motion of thanks was adopted after debate and communicated back to the Governor. “In the circumstances, there can be no direction to legislature commanding it to sit at a place other than Fort St.George. Nor any such direction has been sought.”
The State-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority had now granted clearance for the proposal for modification of the new Assembly Block ‘A’ building into a hospital. An application had been made to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in February this year and it was under consideration. The clearance obtained for the construction of the new Assembly building did not prohibit any conversion or modification. An application had been submitted to the CMDA for fresh planning clearance and it was under process. The Housing and Urban Development Department in a letter in March had approved the recommendation of the multi-storeyed building panel for issue of “planning permission” for the proposed change of use.
The allegation that inner modification of the building would amount to structural modification was wholly baseless, the counter said.
The petitioner’s senior counsel P.Wilson, told a Division Bench comprising Justices D.Murugesan and K.K.Sasidharan that he would file a reply to the additional counter. The matter has been posted for further hearing on July 17.