Tamil Nadu

HC restrains Minister from installing Karunanidhi statue in Tiruvannamalai

The Madras High Court on Thursday restrained State Minister for Public Works E.V. Velu and Jeeva Educational Trust, managed by his son E.V. Kumaran, from installing a statue of former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on the Girivalam (circumambulation) path around the Arunachaleswarar temple in Tiruvannamalai town.

Justices S.M. Subramaniam and J. Sathya Narayana Prasad granted the interim injunction since the Collector failed to file a report, as directed by the court on Wednesday, explaining whether any public property had been encroached upon for the installation of the statue as alleged by a public interest litigation petition.

On Thursday, the Collector told the court he would be able to file a report on the issue only after collecting the details from the Superintendent of Police, District Revenue Officer, Divisional Engineer of the Highways Department, Revenue Divisional Officer, Tahsildar and the Block Development Officer and therefore, required time.

Clearly unhappy with such a submission, the judges wrote: “We are inclined to grant an order of interim injunction restraining the 14 th (Trust) and 15 th (Minister) respondents from in any way laying or erecting a statue or putting up any further construction in the property at Vengikkal village, Tiruvannamalai taluk, and its surrounding area pending disposal of the petition.”

G. Karthick, 39, an iron scrap merchant based in Chennai but a native of Nallan Pillai Petraan village in Kilpennathur taluk of Tiruvannamalai district, had filed the PIL petition claiming the statue had been planned at Vengikkal junction, which connects two State highways and where thousands of devotees congregate every year for the circumambulation.

He claimed a local resident A. Rajendran owned 92.5 square feet of land near the junction as per the sale deed. However, the individual had managed to obtain patta for 215 square feet and sold it to the Jeeva Educational Trust, which encroached upon 300 square feet of adjacent land, he alleged.

Since there was a plan to install a statue at the encroached area, he had approached the court to stall the project on the ground that it would cause hindrance to devotees during the Girivalam and traffic congestion otherwise.

On the other hand, the counsel for the Minister told the court that he had no connection whatsoever with the property under question.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 11:54:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-restrains-minister-from-installing-karunanidhi-statue-in-tiruvannamalai/article65430934.ece