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Madras High Court grants permission to bury Karunanidhi on Marina beach

The High Court rejects the Tami Nadu government’s denial of nod to DMK’s plea, asks it to make arrangements for the burial



The Madras High Court on Wednesday granted permission to bury late  DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi behind Anna Samadhi on the Marina beach. During a special hearing, the first bench rejected the Tamil Nadu government’s denial to allow burial on the Marina citing environmental laws and rules on protection of the beach.

Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh and Justice SS Sundar passed the order after hearing the counsel for DMK and the government.

Resuming its hearing on Wednesday on a petition filed by the DMK seeking allotment of space at Marina beach to bury its departed leader, the court earlier dismissed all pending petitions challenging burials on the Marina. The petitions included one by social activist Traffic Ramaswamy,

Speaking to reporters after the final order, DMK leader and lawyer Kannadasan said the court also asked the government to make arrangements for the burial.

Emotional scenes could be seen at Rajaji Hall following the HC order. Son MK Stalin and senior leaders broke into tears upon hearing the court order. He was comforted by top party leaders Duraimurugan, A Raja and others.

Former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran, grand nephew of Karunanidhi and Kanimozhi, the former Chief Minister’s daughter, could also be seen giving Stalin an emotional hug on hearing the news.

The DMK had moved the court late Tuesday evening, after the state government announced its inability to allot burial space for Karunanidhi on the Marina beach citing legal hurdles.

After a special sitting that commenced late last night at Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh’s residence, the court had adjourned the matter at 1.15 am for resumed hearing at 8 am.

Karunanidhi, a five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister, passed away on Tuesday evening after a prolonged illness. He was 94.

READ | Karunanidhi passes away at age 94 | Thousands mourn, PM Modi expresses grief

The first bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice S S Sundar, took up the case for hearing in a special late night sitting at the acting chief justice’s residence in Chennai.

As the DMK counsel questioned the government’s legal ground for not allotting space for burying Karunanidhi at the Marina beach, senior counsel for the state government made their submissions saying they would get instructions and file a counter in the morning.

Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh then adjourned the case to 8 am, Wednesday.

READ | How M Karunanidhi became Kalaignar | Life and time of the DMK patriarch

As the hearing resumed in the Madras High Court on Wednesday morning, the Tamil Nadu government filed its counter affidavit.

On Tuesday night, the DMK had argued that there was no legal impediment to allotting space within the memorial of former Chief Minister C N Annadurai on the beachfront.

In his observations, the acting chief justice told the government counsel that “every minute of delay” might cause problems to the government and asked if it was prepared to handle it. He also said Karunandihi was among the country’s tallest leaders and asked what was the problem in allotting a burial site for him at the Marina.

READ | Karunanidhi’s body kept at Rajaji Hall for public, leaders to pay respects

Advocate G Doraisamy (Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam) and PMK advocate K Balu submitted before the bench that they were withdrawing their petitions against construction of a memorial for Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at the Marina beach. This would remove legal hurdles for the government allowing a site for Karunanidhi, they told reporters later.

Earlier, DMK working president M K Stalin had written to Chief Minister K Palaniswami seeking space inside the mausoleum complex of the departed leader’s mentor C N Annadurai at the Marina.

A government statement said it was “unable to allot space at Marina beach owing to several pending cases in the Madras High Court and legal complications”.

It said the government was prepared to allot a two-acre site on Sardar Patel Road near the memorials to Rajaji and Kamaraj.

(With agency inputs)