The Madras High Court Wednesday recognised former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s niece J Deepa and nephew J Deepak as “class II legal heirs” of her estate and other assets worth more than Rs 900 crore.
A Division of Bench of Justices comprising N Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose allowed an application filed by Deepak and granted him and his sister to administrate all the properties of late Jayalalithaa.
Deepak filed the application through his counsel SL Sudarsanam and made his sister a respondent. The court dismissed the other application moved by AIADMK functionaries N Pugazhendhi and P Janakiraman who initiated the proceedings for grant of Letters of Administration in their favour or the Administrator General of Tamil Nadu. The bench said the appellants are not qualified to maintain the application and, consequently, there is no locus standi for appellants as rightly held earlier by a single bench judge.
The court suggested that the Poes Garden residence – ‘Veda Nilayam’ – could be turned into an official residence-cum-office of the Chief Minister instead of converting it entirely into a memorial, as desired by the government.
“State public money cannot be wasted for the purpose of constructing the memorial. The real tribute to any leader should be paid by following his/her principles and working for the benefit of the people and development of the society. If the government intends to make the residence of Late Chief Minister’s memorial as residence, there will be not be any end for such proposals,” the bench observed.
However, it added that one portion of the residence alone could be converted into a memorial. According to the judgment, the total amount of assets which are likely to come into the hands of the petitioner (Deepak) and respondent (Deepa) is about Rs 913, 42,68,179.
The court said that the siblings have expressed their desire to create a trust in the name of their aunt for welfare measures. The court also directed the state government to provide round-the-clock security to both Deepa and Deepak at their own cost.
The judgment comes in the wake of an ordinance passed by Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit for the state government to temporarily take possession of former Tamil Nadu chief minister’s residence and other movable items such as furniture, books, Jewels, etc for making long-term arrangements to convert the three-storeyed building into a memorial.
According to the statement issued by the Tamil Nadu government, the foundation will have Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy as the chairperson, Deputy Chief Minister O.Pannerselvam, Minister of Information and Publicity and other government officials as members and the director of Information and Public Relations as member secretary.
The late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was hospitalised and later died on December 05, 2016, due to health complications.
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