The Madras High Court on Tuesday allowed the Tamil Nadu to open a memorial arch for AIADMK founder and three-time Chief Minister M G Ramachandran on the Marina, after observing that it was only a lip service to his memory.
A division bench comprising Justices Shesayee and Sathyanarayanan, who had last November granted an interim stay on the Government proposal to raise an arch , on Tuesday allowed it with several riders during resumed hearing on a public interest litigation against the proposal.
Responding to the Government plea to lift the interim stay, the judges asked: “What have you done during the year-long MGR centenary celebration to propagate his principles except to put up arches and banners and seeking to raise a memorial arch ?”
Apparently referring to MGR bequeathing his Ramapuram residence to a deaf and dumb school after he lost his power of speech following a surgery in December 1984, the judges asked what facilities the Government had provided to several such schools in the State.
Petitioner , advocate Dinesh Kumar, submitted that the Government could perpetuate the memory of MGR by building world class libraries like the Anna Library( opened by the previous DMK Government). The Government could spend money on providing better education facilities, he said.
The petitioner recalled that a statue for thespian Sivaji Ganesan was removed from the Marina and was now housed in a memorial on the banks of the Adyar.
Intervening, judges said even this memorial was built on a water body . ”What purpose has the memorial served”, they asked.
Finally, the judges said as the arch was a memorial for MGR, it would allow it to be raised. But it should be a simple five-minute function, the court said . It ordered notice to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and posted the case to Feb 5.
The Marina already has mausoleums for Dravian majors Annadurai, Karunanidhi, MGR and Jayalalitha. The only exception is Periyar E V Ramaswamy whose memorial is in the DK office in the heart of the city. Likewise, Kamaraj memorial is in the Gandhi Mantapam.