Madras High Court reserves orders on PIL against Karunanidhi’s statue in Tiruvannamalai – The Hindu

Chennai News

State argues that the case is not maintainable at all and that the litigant is in no way concerned about the issue

State argues that the case is not maintainable at all and that the litigant is in no way concerned about the issue

The Madras High Court on Wednesday reserved orders on a public interest litigation petition filed against installation of a statue for former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Tiruvannamalai town. The court deferred the verdict after it was informed that it had been planned to unveil the statue on June 3, his birth anniversary.

Justices M.S. Ramesh and Mohammed Shaffiq took the decision after Jeeva Educational Trust, managed by Minister for Public Works E.V. Velu’s son E.V. Kumaran, filed an application to the vacate an interim injunction granted by the court on May 19 restraining the Minister and the trust from going ahead with the installation of the statue.

Representing the trust, senior counsel S. Prabakaran told the court that the statue was being installed only on a private land and that allegations of public lands having been encroached upon was completely wrong. He also impressed upon the need for an urgent hearing of the case since the birth anniversary of the leader was nearing.

On his part, Additional Advocate General J. Ravindran, representing the official respondents, questioned the maintainability of the PIL petition filed by G. Karthick, 39, an iron scrap merchant based in Chennai. The AAG wondered how a resident of Chennai could have any personal knowledge about the ground situation in Tiruvannamalai.

The law officer pointed out that the High Court rules, related to filing of PILs, required every litigant to disclose the specific sources from which he/she had collected information with respect to the allegations levelled by him/her. However, in the present case, the litigant had only made a general statement that he had made inquiries with the locals.

Finding force in their submissions, the judges asked the litigant’s counsel as to how he could be concerned with the happenings in Tiruvannamalai. They also wanted to know how a PIL petition would lie in the case of installation of a statue on a private patta land.

When the counsel claimed that the patta was fabricated, the judges said, in such a case, the petitioner should have challenged the validity of the patta and not file a PIL petition against installation of the statue.

In his affidavit, the petitioner had claimed that the statue had been planned on the girivalam (circumambulation) path around the Arunachaleswarar temple and that there was a threat of obliteration of a water channel too if the statue was allowed to be installed at the intended location.