Chennai: Even after his death, the former CM and DMK chief M Karunanidhi, known in his lifetime for never giving up without a fight, won a battle before the Madras high court. The first bench allowed the party and family members to bury his mortal remains on the Marina in the space near the memorials of three Dravidian leaders and chief ministers.
After a midnight hearing Tuesday night, which resumed Wednesday morning, the first bench comprising acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice S.S Sundar allowed the plea of R.S. Bharathi, Organising Secretary, DMK, seeking a direction to authorities to allot land in Marina Beach near the tomb of Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, to bury the mortal remains of M.Karunanidhi.
Upon hearing the senior counsels on both sides and considering the entire conspectus of the matter, the bench said the writ petition was allowed with a direction to the authorities to provide a place for a “decent burial” to lay the mortal remains of (late) Dr.Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on the Marina beach, within the precincts of the burial place of founder of DMK and former CM, Annadurai, at Anna Memorial, Kamaraj Salai in consonance with a rough sketch provided by the petitioner. Such an exercise “shall be carried out by the authorities forthwith”.
In the petition, R.S.Bharathi, sought direction to allot land in Marina Beach near the tomb of Annadurai, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to lay the mortal remains of M.Karunanidhi. The entire State of Tamil Nadu is bereaved by the demise of this tall leader. It is only right and proper to give this leader his due respects by laying his mortal remains next to his beloved ‘Aringnar Anna’ to fulfil the wishes of millions of Tamilians.
The petitioner submitted that there has been no interim order passed by any court preventing the authorities from permitting and allotting land on Marina beach to bury the mortal remains of the former chief minister M.Karunanidhi. The land sought for is not covered under Costal Regulatory Zone or under any other legal impediment warranting refusal of allotment of land on Marina beach. He said the mortal remains of M.Karunanidhi, cannot be kept waiting for the decision for the authorities, which may be delayed. Therefore it is imperative that the court intervenes and renders appropriate interim orders directing the authorities to permit and allot land to lay the mortal remains of M.Karunanidhi, on the Marina Beach.
A large number DMK advocates led by senior counsel P Wilson met acting Chief Justice and pressed for the matter to be taken up due to its urgency on Tuesday night itself. After filing the necessary documents, they took up the matter at the acting CJ's residence. On completion of arguments, the bench directed the State to file reply by 8 am on Wednesday.
Before the court commenced hearing arguments this morning, the bench directed the counsel for social activist Traffic Ramaswamy to inform the Bench whether he intended to withdraw his writ petition against the burial of late CM Jayalalithaa at the Marina Beach. He replied that he had no objection to whatever orders the Court chooses to pass in the DMK's petition. The Bench then dismissed his writ petition as well before moving on to arguments.
Senior counsel P Wilson, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the reason for refusal given by the State Government is only that there are "pending cases" and "legal hurdles". The pending cases have already been withdrawn by the petitioners who also are only concerned with a memorial for former CM J Jayalalithaa. He said in so far as the legal hurdle of CRZ Zone, Wilson submitted that the State itself had filed a counter affidavit detailing how it was legal for Jayalalitha to be buried there. Hence, the same legal position that existed during her death exists now but the State is taking a different position. He also submitted that the place has also been marked as a crematoria/burial site by the Chennai Corporation through a resolution.
In reply, senior counsel C.S Vaidyanathan, appearing for the State Government, submitted that other CM s like Kamarajar and Janaki Ramachandran have not been buried at Marina. Hence, the land cannot be allotted. However, Wilson replied that the former Congress CM Kamarajar was buried near the Gandhi Mandapam whereas the icon of the Dravidian movement Anna was buried on Marina. Just like how Jayalalithaa was buried next to her mentor MGR, Kalaignar should be buried next to his mentor, C.N. Annadurai.
Opposing the plea, Senior Counsel C.S Vaidyanathan, appeared on behalf of the Government, submitted that the entire sequence of events was only to politicise the death of Karunanidhi and government had merely taken a decision following precedent. Some of the principles followed were also laid down by M Karunanidhi while he was CM. He said if he was alive he would have not allowed the plea. Therefore, the petition does not serve to honour his memory. However it disrespects the procedure he followed earlier. Withdrawal of petitions today had been a stage-managed one.