Annexe building in HC cries for attention

Repair work has begun in the Family court building area of Madras High Court complex where a piece of slab fell off on Monday. Photo: R. Raju

Repair work has begun in the Family court building area of Madras High Court complex where a piece of slab fell off on Monday. Photo: R. Raju  


Rusted steel bars and overflowing sewage are a common sight on the complex

While the Madras High Court has taken efforts to restore the heritage buildings falling within its administration, the city civil court annexe inside the Madras High Court complex is crying for attention.

From the outside, the annexe that houses family courts, city civil courts, CBI courts and labour courts seems fine. On closer look, one will find rusted steel bars exposed and a bit of overflowing sewage.

On Monday afternoon, a piece of concrete fell off the nearly three-decade old building onto the wind shield of a lawyer’s car, breaking it. “The buildings are painted once in six months... But necessary repairs are hardly undertaken. The corridor linking the main building with the annexe is also in a bad shape,” said a senior lawyer.

Lawyers also complain that drinking water facility and toilets are hardly enough for the number of litigants and lawyers visiting the complex. “Though there are funds for the heritage structures in the High Court building, there is not enough allocation for these smaller courts,” says Rajnish Pathiyil, a lawyer.

“There is no periodical maintenance. The Public Works Department (PWD) takes up repairs only when there is a complaint,” says R.C. Paul Kanakaraj, president of Madras High Court Advocates Association.

Officials at the Public Works Department, which is in charge of maintenance, say that a list of priority works is provided to Registrar (Management), Madras High Court, based on which fund is allocated every year for repairs. Normally, up to Rs.40 lakh is allocated every year, officials say.

About the roof collapse on Monday, the officials say that the portion had weakened owing to water stagnation. “We have already replaced sunshades with fibre sheets for safety and the area is already a no-parking zone. We have cordoned off the area and plan to complete the repair work in a month. We plan to take up repair of the entire building later this year,” said an official.

Sources from the High Court Registry said they had received an oral complaint on the issue that was immediately communicated to the PWD.

Since the parapet wall of the terrace is also weak, PWD has been instructed to repair it soon.

(Additional reporting by Sureshkumar)

>70% restoration complete

Special Correspondent

Work is also on to restore some of the Indo-Saracenic buildings with traditional brick and lime mortar in the complex. The PWD, which took up project to restore heritage structures in June last year, has so far completed nearly 70 per cent of the work.

The work includes restoration of Madras High Court main building, Small Causes Court and Old Light House. Major portion of the work involves restoring the roof built in the ‘Madras Terrace’, an architecture style popular in the city during 19{+t}{+h}century.

Of the structures in the High Court complex, the Small Causes Court housing 21 court halls may be the first one to sport restored roof in a month.

“At the main building, we have to complete plastering work in the ceiling and varnishing of wooden beams that are part of the Madras Terrace roofing. Work is also on repair roof of the old light house and restore stone work,” said an official.

The department is waiting for government directive for restoration work of 22 domes in the main building along with National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property, Lucknow.

The roof collapsed on Monday because water stagnation had weakened the portion, officials said

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 12:46:03 PM |

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