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Madras HC upholds single bench decision to hand over Jayalalithaa residence to legal heirs

Chennai, Jan 5 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Wednesday upheld the decision of the single bench of the court to hand over the Poes Garden residence of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa to her legal heirs, nephew J.Deepak and niece J. Deepa.

A division bench of the court comprising Justices Paresh Upadhyaya and Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup dismissed a petition filed by the principal opposition party AIADMK and the law minister in the previous government, CVe Shanmugham for quashing the order of the single bench to hand over the property to Jayalalithaa's heirs.

The bench said that it was neither legal nor proper to give an order to the present government to stick to the decision of its predecessor when there was no public purpose and goes against the wishes of the legal heirs of the property.

The judges did not accept the contention of AIADMK and Shanmugham that the then government was pursuing what the party wanted and that the party wanted the present government to pursue what the previous government had done.

The court said that the AIADMK misconstrued itself as the government even though it was not and said that it desired to acquire the Poes Garden residence of the late Chief Minister, 'Veda Nilayam' for being converted into her memorial. The court pointed out that the late Chief Minister was having a memorial at Marina and that the residential property at Poes Gardens was legally for her heirs, J. Deepak and J. Deepa.

While pronouncing the judgment, the bench said: "The previous government had acquired 'Veda Nilayam' only because the AIADMK that was ruling the state wanted so and that party was heard as contending that the public would be served by acquiring the private residential property for being converted into a memorial against the wishes of the owners thereof and that too when the present government is not willing to do so." It said: "According to us it is neither legal nor proper to give any such direction."

Notably, the single bench of Justice N. Seshasayee on November 24 ,2021, passed the orders quashing the decision of the previous government converting 'Veda Nilayam' into Jaya memorial against which the legal heirs of the late Chief Minister had filed a petition.

The single bench had, in its observation, mentioned that procedural illegalities were found in the acquisition as also no public purpose was served apart from observing that the entire act was a wastage of public money. The court had accepted the pray of the legal heirs of the late Chief Minister and directed the state government to hand over the property to the nephew of late J. Jayalalithaa, J. Deepak, and his sister J. Deepa, the legal heirs of the former Chief Minister. Subsequently, the Chennai district collector handed over the keys of the Veda Nilayam to Deepak and Deepa.