The Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed the Tamil Nadu government to go ahead with the opening ceremony of ‘Veda Nilayam’ memorial, the residence of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa here, on Thursday but ordered that the building shall not be thrown open to the public. Passing interim order on petitions by Deepak and Deepa, nephew and niece of the late AIADMK supremo seeking a stay on the inauguration, Justice N Seshasayee ordered that the opening ceremony alone can take place as scheduled on January 28.
The residential building shall, however, not be thrown open to the public without the permission of the court. The about 50-year old residential property of Jayalalithaa, Veda Nilayam, is located in upscale Poes Garden neighbourhood of the city and has been taken over by the government and converted into a memorial.
The two have filed separate petitions challenging the government notification for acquisition of Veda Nilayam to convert it into a memorial and the award passed by the Land Acquisition Officer. Citing the pending matters, the court said the government should have refrained from opening the memorial.
However, Advocate General Vijay Narayan informed the court that arrangements for holding the function had been made and stay of the function might create considerable difficulties for the government and hence the court allowed the ceremony alone. “It is made clear that holding the function 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 said.
The right, title and the interest of the heirs of late Chief Minister cannot be marginalised, the court held. Once the function is over, the keys of the premises of ‘Veda Nilayam’ shall be handed to the court Registrar General by authorities since the valuable movables of the late Chief Minister to which the petitioners are now the heirs, have to be valued, the order said.
No flex banners or obstructive hoardings shall be placed for the event and the city police commissioner was directed to ensure that no undue inconvenience was caused to those living in the locality. The matter was posted to February 24 for final hearing.