Madras high court: State should recognise J Deepa, J Deepak as Jaya’s heirs

We do not have any difference of opinion.

Chennai: The Madras high court has said that the state government should recognise J.Deepa and J.Deepak, niece and nephew of former chief minister late J.Jayalalithaa as class two legal heirs of Jayalalithaa. A division bench comprising Justices N.Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose who made the observation said even a person in a remote village knows that they are the legal heirs of Jayalalithaa, irrespective of letters of administration.

As directed by the bench earlier, Deepak and Deepa appeared before the judges on Friday, when the appeal filed by K.Pugazhendhi came up for hearing. The bench headed by Justice Kirubakaran asked Deepak “why he kept quiet so long? Why Deepa has not filed a separate petition but only endorsed the same. Moreover, the newspaper reports say there is some difference of opinion between the two”.

Deepak and Deepa said, “We do not have any difference of opinion. When the Poes Garden property was sought to be acquired we filed a petition in 2017 itself expressing our objections”. Deepak said he had originally approached the Tahsildar for issuance of letters of administration, who advised him to approach the court. Now after consulting the advocates, he has filed a petition seeking letters of administration. Deepa said she thought let Deepak file a petition first and thereafter, she will file it.

When Justice Kirubakaran asked whether they were married and have any children, Deepak said he was aged 38 years and unmarried. Deepa said, “I am married but I do not have children”. The judge said, “Why I asked you this question is, former chief minister used to say ‘I am by the people, I am for the people’. According to petitioner, her properties are worth thousand crores. What will happen after you? Why do not you give some properties to the public?”

Deepa said once everything was settled and they get letters of administration, they will form a trust and do something. She also said she was not allowed to participate in the last rites. Deepak said on the funeral day, he was allowed to perform the last rites. Thereafter, he was in Poes Garden for two months. But due to some development, he was sent out and he was residing in his residence in T.Nagar.

Deepa and Deepak said, “We are capable of administering the properties of aunty. If at all letter of administration is given, everything will be done in accordance with law. We humbly request your lordship to direct the authorities to hand over the possession of Poes Garden property because till 1984, we lived as a joint family there”.

When the bench pointed out that now the government was going to acquire the property and convert it into a memorial, they said this government may go after three years, then what will happen? Someone has to maintain the property. M.Baskar, counsel for Administrator General and Official Trustee intervened and said this government may go and a new government will come, they may change their policy and therefore, the properties may be handed over to the AGOT for administering the same.

The bench said now the second class legal heirs were there. “At least now let them enjoy the fruits”, the bench added. The bench said advocate general made it clear that the Poes Garden property was in possession of the Chennai district collector and the keys were with the police.

When Deepa said no notice was given to the legal heirs, the bench said the government should also recognise they are the legal heirs. Even a person in a remote village knows that they are legal heirs of Jayalalithaa, irrespective of letters of administration.

Finally, the bench reserved orders on the appeal filed by Pugazhendhi, the South Chennai District Deputy Secretary of J.Jayalalithaa Peravai, which sought to appoint an administrator to administer the properties of late Jayalalithaa.

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