The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Wednesday moved the Madras High Court against a single-judge ruling quashing an acquisition order of former Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa’s Veda Nilayam bungalow in Chennai’s Poes Garden area, reported The News Minute.
The Tamil Nadu government, when it was led by the AIADMK, had acquired the property in May last year and planned to convert it into a memorial and open it to the public. On November 24, Judge N Seshasayee had cancelled the acquisition order and transferred the ownership of the residence to Jayalalithaa’s niece J Deepa and nephew J Deepak.
In its appeal, former Law Minister and AIADMK’s Villupuram district Secretary C Ve Shanmugham submitted that the single judge order was erroneous.
“The order attributing mala fides is highly uncalled for and the same ought to be expunged,” the appeal said. “A mere reading of the whole judgment would manifest that the same has been biased by several factors, for which no evidence or pleadings was available before the court.”
The petition claimed that the government did not make any lapse in following the procedure to acquire the land and ample opportunity was given to interested parties to raise their objection when the land acquisition officer conducted the inquiry and when the land was awarded.
It said that the petitioners who approached the High Court – Deepa and Deepak – should have filed an application under the The Right To Fair Compensation And Transparency In Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation And Resettlement Act, 2013’ before the district collector.
“Hence, when there is an effective alternative remedy, the judge [Seshasayee] ought not to have entertained the writ petitions challenging the award passed by the Land Acquisition officer,” the petition said.
It added: “The judge had failed to see that both the writ petitioners claimed their right to the estate of the late Chief Minister J Jayalaitha only based on the Letters of Administration granted by this court in a civil suit.”
Letters of Administration are granted to appoint appropriate people to deal with deceased persons estate when they have not appointed a someone under their will.
As Jayalalithaa had not left a will, the Madras High Court had declared Deepa and Deepak her legal heirs in May last year. It had said that as legal heirs, Deepa and Deepak were entitled to inherit all the properties left behind by Jayalalithaa and had asked the state government to reconsider its decision to convert her residence into a memorial.
In its petition, Shanmugham said the AIADMK has a statutory right on the Puratchi Thalaivi Dr J Jayalalithaa Memorial Foundation, which takes necessary steps to maintain the movable and immovable properties in Veda Nilayam, reported The New India Express.
“Once a division bench under Testamentary Jurisdiction had passed an order directing the state to consider its suggestions and when the same was being considered by the government and when acquisition proceedings passed, the same was binding on the single judge and the same ought not to have interfered by him,” the petition added.
Veda Nilayam served as the residence of Jayalalithaa for over 40 years. The house was purchased by the former chief minister and her mother in 1962.
Even after Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016, her aide VK Sasikala was staying at the bungalow till her four-year prison term in a disproportionate assets case was confirmed by the Supreme Court.
After then, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit had promulgated an ordinance in May last year to allow the state government to “temporarily” take over the residence.
Deepa and Deepak had filed separate petitions against the acquisition. In their petitions, Deepa and Deepak had requested the High Court to quash the acquisition order as “perverse, arbitrary, biased, illegal, untenable, smacks of malafide and colourable exercise of powers”.