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HC takes up suo motu PIL against use of educational institution premises for commercial gains TAMIL NADU Legal CorrespondentCHENNAI 24 JANUARY 2020 00:58 ISTUPDATED: 24 JANUARY 2020 00:58 IST Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha directed Special Government Pleader E. Manoharan to take notice on behalf of the State government and ascertain its response by February 26 The Madras High Court on Thursday took up a suo motu public interest litigation petition (PIL) intended at preventing private educational institutions, which avail concessions in payment of electricity charges and property taxes, from renting out their premises for non-educational activities with the motive of making money. Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha directed Special Government Pleader E. Manoharan to take notice on behalf of the State government and ascertain its response by February 26. Notices were also ordered to Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) and Greater Chennai Corporation. The suo motu PIL had been taken on the basis of a reference made by Justice N. Kirubakaran on November 24, 2016. Though the reference was made three years ago, the Registry had put up a note before Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi only recently. After being convinced with reasons assigned for the delay, he referred the issue to the PIL committee. Advertising Advertising The 2016 reference by Justice Kirubakaran was made while refusing to entertain a case filed by S. Sujitha, who claimed to be a journalist working for a television channel, to prevent South Indian Artistes Association, popularly known as Nadigar Sangam, from conducting its Annual General Body meeting at the Loyola College auditorium in Nungambakkam here. Then the judge had doubted the bonafide of the writ petitioner and therefore refused to entertain the case. However, he was of the view that the larger issue of educational institutions using their premises for commercial gains should be taken up by the court as a public interest litigation petition and sufficient guidelines should be framed on the issue. He pointed out that Tangedco charges only ₹3.15 for every unit of power consumed by educational institutions as against ₹11 per unit charged for temporary power supply for construction activities. Therefore, institutions which avail such subsidies from government utilities should use their premises strictly for educational activities alone, he had opined. Since Loyola College and Nadigar Sangam were parties in the writ petition in which the single judge had made the reference, the Division Bench led by Justice Sathyanarayanan included them as respondents in the suo motu PIL petition too and ordered notices to them.