Tamil Nadu

High Court restrains government from throwing open Jayalalithaa’s residence for public viewing

Former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s legal heirs challenged the acquisition stating that there was no public interest involved for the government to acquire a private property.   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

The Madras High Court on Wednesday restrained the Tamil Nadu government from throwing open to the public a memorial set up by the government at former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s residence, Veda Nilayam, in Chennai.

Justice N. Seshasayee passed the order after her legal heirs J. Deepa and J. Deepak complained that an inventory of articles inside the bungalow had not been taken in their presence, despite it reportedly containing several valuables and treasures. The siblings had filed individual writ petitions through their counsel S.L. Sudarsanam and K.V. Sundararajan and challenged the acquisition proceedings primarily on the ground that there was absolutely no public interest involved for the government to acquire a private property. They also urged the court to pass interim orders restraining the government from converting the residence into a memorial until the disposal of their main writ petitions. They said the government had planned an inauguration ceremony for Thursday.

Finding force in their submissions, the judge said that in the fitness of things, the government should have refrained from inaugurating the memorial when the legal heirs were clueless about the articles available inside the house and their monetary value. Nevertheless, since it was reported that all arrangements for the inaugural ceremony had been made, he permitted the ceremony to take place without prejudice to the rights of the petitioners and without conferring any right on the government.

“The main gate to the premises of Veda Nilayam alone can be opened during the function. The building Veda Nilayam shall not be opened at any time, even during the function, since taking the inventory of the movables and their valuation is not yet complete. The right, title and interest of the heirs of the Late Chief Minister cannot be marginalised,” the judge said.

‘Hand over keys’

He ordered that whoever was in possession of the keys of Veda Nilayam should hand them over to the HC Registrar-General after the ceremony.

The court also ordered that no flex banners or obstructive hoardings be placed at the venue and directed the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai, to ensure that no undue inconvenience was caused to those residing in the locality.

The judge further directed the High Court Registry to list the cases, filed by the legal heirs, for further hearing on February 24.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 9:28:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/high-court-restrains-government-from-throwing-open-jayalalithaas-residence-for-public-viewing/article33680135.ece

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