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Madras High Court Issues Notice In Plea Against Implementation Of Corridor 4 Of Phase II Of Chennai Metro Rail Project

Upasana Sajeev
13 May 2022 4:50 AM GMT
Policy Decision Of Government Cannot Be Questioned Through Judicial Review: Madras High Court

The Madras High Court bench of Justice GR Swaminathan and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy on Thursday issued notice to the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Chennai Metro Rail Limited in a plea against the implementation of the Corridor 4 of Phase II of the Chennai Metro Rail Project.

The petition has been filed by one G Gouthaman and two others seeking to declare eight structures - (i)Mylai Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple, (ii)Vadapalani Murugan Temple, (iii) Vadapalani Sri Vengeeswarar Temple, (iv) Vadapalani Sri Alagar Perumal Temple, (v) Virugambakkam Sri Sundaravardharaja Perumal Temple, (vi) Valasaravakkam Sri Velveeswarar Temple, (vii) Poonamallee Sri Thirukachi Nambigal and Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple, (viii) Poonamallee Sri Thirukachi Nambigal and Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple Tank as ancient monuments and Heritage Structures under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remain Act 1958 and to pass an ad-interim injunction restraining Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) from proceeding with the Corridor 4 of Phase II of the Chennai Metro Rail Project.

The petitioners submitted that the CMRL has not considered the temples as Heritage Structures in its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report. The respondent has also not considered the Judgment of the Madras High Court in Suo Motu WP No.574 of 2015 wherein the court had made the below direction:

"(17) The ASI shall inspect and declare all the temples which are more than 100 years old, even if a single idol in a temple, as a monument according to the Directive Principles of State Policy."

The petitioners submitted that the first and second respondents – The State of Tamil Nadu (Department of Tourism, Cuture and Religious Endowments) and The Principal Secretary and Commissioner (Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department) respectively, have failed to comply with the directions of the court in the above order and have not classified the structures as Heritage Monuments even though they are well above 100 years old.

They further submitted that the first and second respondents and other government authorities have failed to update the list of heritage structures created by Justice E. Padmanabhan Committee's report and as per the above order of the Madras High Court.

It was also submitted that each of these temples have their own Sthalapuranas which also denote the ancient nature of these temples. As the first and second respondents failed to classify these structures as Heritage Structures, the third respondent did not prepare an EIA and Social Impact Assessment for the same nor did they get necessary approvals

It was pointed out by the petitioners that the Government without considering the Heritage nature of the Temple and Village acquired a large tract of Temple land in the vicinity of the Temple to build the Poonamallee bus terminus. Now CMRL has planned to construct the Poonamallee Bus Terminus Metro Station here. The petitioners have contended that the proposed plan would cover the entire road station stretches beyond the Theradi street thus preventing observance of various rituals like Ratha-utsavam. Further, the CMRL is acquiring more temple property than is necessary and is sparing private properties and government properties.

The petitioners also pointed out that the CMRL has previously taken a great effort to preserve the colonial-era secular structures and other ancient structures during previous phases. Thus, in the present case also, the CMRL could modify their current plans to spare the temples and other structures in question.

Case Title: G. Gouthaman and others v. The State of Tamil Nadu and others

Case No: W.P 12697 of 2022

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