Downtown

Illegal temple outside High Court to be demolished

Kantha Srinivasan who built a temple for MGR has been even living there for over two decades near Madras High Court in Chennai. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam.

Kantha Srinivasan who built a temple for MGR has been even living there for over two decades near Madras High Court in Chennai. Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam.

Thirty years ago when former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran, was battling for life , thousands of people in the state prayed for his recovery. Broadway-born Kantha Srinivasan, a hawker on NSC Bose Road, was one among them.

She went a step further and sold her four goats for Rs 1,500 to build a temple on the pavement in front of the North Gate – 3 of the Madras High Court. The goats were her livelihood.

But, this piece of loyalty and adulation will soon be erased from public memory as the divisional bench of the Madras High Court comprising Justice Satish K. Agnihotri and Justice K. K. Sasidharan has ordered the demolition of the temple. “The Corporation is expected to protect public property. The roads are not meant for construction of temple, mosque and church,” the bench said.

Now, in her sixties, Kantha Srinivasan, which is also a local AIADMK functionary, makes her livelihood by selling tea within the High Court premises and doing odd jobs such as selling plastic toys, household items and coconuts on the pavement. She has also been managing the temple and conducting daily pujas. The steel-sheet-topped temple has an electricity connection. “It may be an encroachment, but why was it left to exist all these years. Many advocates and litigants come and pay quick obeisance at the temple,” said Kantha Srinivasan.

Based on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by ‘Traffic’ K.R. Ramasamy, the high court has directed the civic body to demolish the illegal structure by December 8. In fact, the High Court had ordered the demolition in December last year. The Corporation sought a review of the decision and this week it was set aside by the court.

Police sources said removal of such illegal structures in front of sensitive institutions such as High Court was needed for security reasons. Further, the North Gate – 3 is crucial for policing as it is the only gate where people are allowed between 10.30 a.m and 5.30 p.m daily. Rest of the entrances are restricted to police, advocates, court staff and journalists. Judges have separate entrance and exit on Rajaji Salai. “The removal of the temple is not meant for pedestrians only but it will also help better surveillance of the area,” said a police officer.

Kantha is likely to approach the Supreme Court next week.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 27, 2022 10:20:44 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/illegal-temple-outside-high-court-to-be-demolished/article6646305.ece