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Jayalalithaa’s residence: Madras HC allows state to hold event on January 28

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  • Even though the case was posted for February 4, the court heard the case on Wednesday based on the request of the former Tamil Nadu CM’s family.

By Divya Chandrababu

PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 01:44 AM IST

The Madras high court on Wednesday allowed the Tamil Nadu government to proceed with the inauguration scheduled on January 28 to open late chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s residence ‘Veda Nilayam’ as a memorial but did not allow public entry until further hearings on the case. The court observed that it was constrained to allow the opening so that it does not cause difficulties to the government which has already made arrangements when it should have restrained from such a function.

Justice N Seshasayee passed the interim order based on writ petitions filed by Jayalalithaa’s legal heirs — her niece J Deepa and nephew J Deepak– against the government’s acquisition and converting the late AIADMK leader’s residence into a museum and throwing it open to the public on Thursday.

Even though the case was posted for February 4, the court heard the case on Wednesday based on their request, “keeping aside the consideration of the main controversy involving the legality of the acquisition.”

The opening ceremony, “will not in any way confer any right to the Government, nor deprive the petitioners of their right in the subject matter of the writ petitions,” the court order said. It also placed a list of conditions– only the main gates can be opened but the building cannot be opened, no flex boards, banners are allowed. Once the function is over the keys of the property have to be handed over to the registrar general of the court.

“Since the inventory (of moveable assets) has not been completed, the right, title and the interest of the heirs cannot be marginalised, the justice said during the hearing,” said Deepak’s counsel S L Sudarsanam. The court order also noted that, “So far as movable properties of…Jayalalitha are concerned, they are not even valued, and it is unfair and impermissible for the government to declare open ‘Veda Nilayam’ as a memorial when the entire acquisition proceedings is not yet complete.”

Jayalalithaa has been living in this property which she purchased in the 60s until the time of her death. Her close aide and expelled AIADMK leader V K Sasikala was her housemate for three decades until she went to a Bengaluru prison in February 2017 and was formally released on January 27. The government enacted a legislation last year establishing a foundation for the property’s upkeep to be turned into a memorial and stated that the property was acquired legally after depositing a compensation of 67.9 crore before the civil court in Chennai.

The ruling AIADMK government on Wednesday inaugurated an 80-crore phoenix themed mausoleum at Jayalalithaa’s burial place on the Marina beach. On January 28, the chief minister will open Jayalalithaa’s residence at 10.30am following which he would unveil her statue in another complex in the city.

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