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HC buildings to undergo repairs soon

K.T. Sangameswaran
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Committee inspects the ancient structure and discussed steps

popular landmark:The buildings, with court halls that have artistic interiors, were built in theIndo-Saracenic style of architecture. They were inaugurated in 1892 —Photo: K. Pichumani
popular landmark:The buildings, with court halls that have artistic interiors, were built in theIndo-Saracenic style of architecture. They were inaugurated in 1892 —Photo: K. Pichumani

The long-pending repair and maintenance of the Madras High Court buildings, a city landmark, are finally on track.

A meeting of the committee entrusted with the task took place on Saturday. The committee members inspected some portions of the ancient structure.

At the meeting, methods to be adopted for the restoration work were discussed. “As the High Court is a building of historical value, we cannot use modern materials like cement to restore the structure, including the doors and rafters. All these nuances were discussed at the meeting. The committee has to submit the report in three weeks after inspection,” said an official.

What prompted the committee to swing into action was the Court’s direction to authorities to submit a report on the damage to the structure and the steps that should be taken to rectify it.

In 2006, an advocate, M.T. Arunan, submitted a representation to the then Chief Justice, on the need to maintain the building which is the highest court in Tamil Nadu.

The advocate said that following his plea, a committee was constituted and meetings were held. He also gave repeated representations on the subject. In 2011, he filed a petition saying the Archaeological Survey of India should maintain the High Court. Recently, the Court passed an order seeking the report.

Besides the High Court, the Small Causes Courts building and the law college situated on the premises will be inspected for carrying out repair and maintenance works. The inspection, which began on Saturday, will be conducted for a few more days.

Mr. Arunan said he is glad steps are being taken for the proper upkeep of the building. In the past too, repair works have been carried out on the building, but his grievance is that they were not done by persons with knowledge of heritage conservation.

The buildings, with court halls that have artistic interiors, were built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. They came up in 1892.

Prior to that, from 1817 to 1862, the Supreme Court of Madras was situated in a building opposite Beach railway station. The High Court too was housed there from 1862 to 1892. The present buildings were formally inaugurated on July 12, 1892, when the then Madras Governor, Beilby Baron Wenlock, handed over the key to the then Chief Justice Sir Arthur Collins.

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