Madras HC Ends State Government’s Plan to Make a Memorial for Dr. J. Jayalalithaa

The Madras High Court has declared that J. Deepak and J. Deepa, nephew and niece of J Jayalalithaa, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister as her class II legal heirs. They are entitled to inherit all properties left behind by her.

The division bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice Abdul Quddhose allowed their application.

Class II Legal Heirs Of Jayalalithaa

“As late Chief Minister died unmarried, without any issues; and no other kith or kin is available other than the petitioner and the respondent; who are children of late Jayakumar, brother of the deceased; this convinces the Court that the petitioner and the respondent are nephew and niece and are Class II legal heirs. Under Entry IV of Class II of Hindu Succession Act; the petitioner and the Respondent get the status of Class II heirs of late Chief Minister Dr. J Jayalalithaa; in the absence of Class I legal heirs. Hence, they are entitled to grant of Letters of Administration in respect of the estate and credits of the late Dr. J Jayalalithaa,” held the Madras High Court.

 Caveators’ Petition

The court also dismissed the caveators, Pugazhendis and P Janakiraman’s petition to appoint them as administrators to administer the properties of Jayalalithaa worth over Rs 913 crore. The 24,000 square feet residence in Chennai is named “Veda Nilayam” after Jayalalithaa’s mother. The premises are lying vacant since December 2016, after the demise of the former CM, due to ownership disputes.

Decision of the Tamil Nadu Government

Recently, the Tamil Nadu Governor passed an ordinance to temporarily take over Veda Nilayam, convert it into a Government memorial. However, the High Court has asked the state government to reconsider its decision. The bench also added that if they allow the government to use public money to acquire private properties; and make it into a memorial, then there would be no end to it.

“Make it Official Residence-cum-Office of the CM”

“Instead of acquiring the said property, and paying heavy compensation; the state can utilize the said amount for developmental purposes; such as building infrastructures, providing potable drinking water, cleaning of water bodies etc. When there are so many essential amenities which are yet to be provided by the welfare State; the government cannot waste public money for the purpose of constructing memorials. The real tribute to any leader is through following his/her principles; and working for benefit of the people and development of the society,” opined the court.

“In view of the above, this Court would suggest to the State Government to consider making the above property as “Official Residence-cum-Office of the Chief Minister of the State” instead of converting the property as a “memorial” as desired by the Government,” suggested the Court.

The Court further added that if the State government particularly wants to convert it into a memorial, instead of converting the entire property, the government can convert one potion into a memorial, and the rest as the Official Residence-cum-Office of the Chief Minister.

Other Observations by the Court

Deepak and J. Deepa stated their intention is to create a trust and use few properties in the name of Jayalalithaa for public use and benefit. Also, since they are declared legal heirs, there is a security threat to their life. The Court directed the State to provide security to them. So, the Court directed them to liquidate any one of the acquired properties and deposit the amount in a fixed deposit in any nationalized bank for the security provided to them. The Madras High Court has called the matter for reporting compliance, and regarding the provision of security after two weeks.

About the Author

Ishan Harlalka
I am a 3rd year law aspirant pursuing BA LLB. I am deeply interested in learning and am always looking forward to gain knowledge about new subjects. In my leisure time, I try to read books of various genres and by different authors. As people from non-law background may find it difficult to understand legal provisions and jargons, I try to write in a way that my articles are easy to comprehend and after reading them, one can discuss them with others.

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