The Madras High Court on Monday agreed to hear on January 27, instead of February 4, the writ petitions filed by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s nephew J. Deepak and niece J. Deepa challenging the acquisition of her Poes Garden residence, Veda Nilayam, for conversion into a government memorial.
Justice N. Seshasayee acceded to a request made by Mr. Deepak’s counsel S.L. Sudarsanam since there was reportedly a plan to inaugurate the memorial on January 28, a day after inaugurating Jayalalithaa’s mausoleum at the Marina beach. The judge made it clear that he would hear the case only on the plea for interim orders. Advocate-General Vijay Narayan and Special Government Pleader E. Manoharan told the court that the government was fully entitled to convert the residence into a memorial since it had been acquired in accordance with law after depositing the compensation amount of ₹67.9 crore before the City Civil Court.
He said the Tamil Nadu Puratchi Thalaivi Dr. J.Jayalalithaa Memorial Foundation Act of 2020 had also been passed for acquisition and maintenance of the movable properties too. Stating that the government had actually spruced up the building, he said the basic idea was to preserve the residence and open it up for public view.
Further, pointing out that the former Chief Minister’s nephew and niece, who had been declared as her legal heirs now, were never in possession of the property at any point of time, he said they were not entitled to any kind of interim protection since they would not be in any way affected by the State’s decision to maintain the property as it is.