JUSTICE K.CHANDRU TRAGIC PLIGHT OF A HERITAGE SITE The colonialists wanted to expand the western part of Fort St.George. The Chennamalleeswara and Chennakesava temples got destroyed in a mysterious “fire accident”

AMICUS CURIae
Friend of the Court
JUSTICE K.CHANDRU TRAGIC PLIGHT OF A HERITAGE SITE The colonialists wanted to expand the western part of Fort St.George. The Chennamalleeswara and Chennakesava temples got destroyed in a mysterious “fire accident”. The people who rose in anger were pacified with money grants and land west of Flower Bazaar. A sand mound south of Armenian Street was razed to the ground on security considerations of the Fort St. George. A lighthouse was established on this encroached land. In 1890 a new building was constructed in this area for the High Court, which had been functioning since 1862 in the present District Collector’s office nearby. The new lighthouse was constructed on the top of this new building. Admiring this magnificent structure poet Chenji Ekambara Mudaliar wrote an ‘Alankara Sindhu’ in 1908. A few lines from that tamil poem:
“Constructing with finesse
A dome like ‘Andaa’;
Adding in next round
Many ‘kudam’-like domes,
Planting atop pot clones
Leaving onlookers in total awe
Gilding it all in tint golden
And overwhelming eyes that behold…..”
Though the two lighthouses and the High Court building have been declared as heritage sites, many new buildings have sprung up in the name of expansion. The entire campus is now a concrete jungle. After the Madras Port Trust took over the North Chennai seashore known as High Court beach, this emerald patch inside the High Court campus was used by North Chennaites for pleasant evening stroll. The large ground used by the students of Law college and George Town Schools became a lung space. During the days of Chief Justice Veerasami, the land given to construct the Express bus stand to the southwest was returned back to the High Court, after protracted efforts. But, the statue of Chithirai Thirunaal Maharaja of Travancore, which had been removed from there earlier, however was not returned and still has been retained in an Adyar temple far away. The wooded area in northeast was destroyed and an adjunct building of the High Court was constructed there, totally devoid of any aesthetic sense. The entire campus is now choking with buildings and the lung space is completely devastated. Apart from the three High Court buildings and the Law College, twenty more buildings have been constructed, with a threat of a few more raising their heads. New memorial structures also crowd the space. To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the High Court, a monstrous arch has been constructed at the southern entrance, at a cost of a million rupee. There are rules that new buildings and structures should not be constructed within 300 metres of heritage sites. Has the High court granted itself immunity from these rules? A plan of the Chief Minister to construct a ‘Legislative Assembly Diamond Jubilee Arch’ in front of the Fort St.George had to be changed because of this rule. The construction of many new buildings in the High Court campus should be stopped. The Committee of Judges formed to oversee heritage sites should bestow some thought to this matter. It is no matter of pride that the Madras High Court campus contains the largest number of Courts in India. The compelling logic of the day is to decentralize power centres. In the context of the furious special expansion of the jurisdiction of Madras Corporation, the majesty of the High Court can be sustained only by relocating the many lower Courts located inside the High Court campus. Madras High Court HC Campus becoming Concrete Jungle
AMICUS CURIae
Friend of the Court
JUSTICE K.CHANDRU TRAGIC PLIGHT OF A HERITAGE SITE The colonialists wanted to expand the western part of Fort St.George. The Chennamalleeswara and Chennakesava temples got destroyed in a mysterious “fire accident”. The people who rose in anger were pacified with money grants and land west of Flower Bazaar. A sand mound south of Armenian Street was razed to the ground on security considerations of the Fort St. George. A lighthouse was established on this encroached land. In 1890 a new building was constructed in this area for the High Court, which had been functioning since 1862 in the present District Collector’s office nearby. The new lighthouse was constructed on the top of this new building. Admiring this magnificent structure poet Chenji Ekambara Mudaliar wrote an ‘Alankara Sindhu’ in 1908. A few lines from that tamil poem:
“Constructing with finesse
A dome like ‘Andaa’;
Adding in next round
Many ‘kudam’-like domes,
Planting atop pot clones
Leaving onlookers in total awe
Gilding it all in tint golden
And overwhelming eyes that behold…..”
Though the two lighthouses and the High Court building have been declared as heritage sites, many new buildings have sprung up in the name of expansion. The entire campus is now a concrete jungle. After the Madras Port Trust took over the North Chennai seashore known as High Court beach, this emerald patch inside the High Court campus was used by North Chennaites for pleasant evening stroll. The large ground used by the students of Law college and George Town Schools became a lung space. During the days of Chief Justice Veerasami, the land given to construct the Express bus stand to the southwest was returned back to the High Court, after protracted efforts. But, the statue of Chithirai Thirunaal Maharaja of Travancore, which had been removed from there earlier, however was not returned and still has been retained in an Adyar temple far away. The wooded area in northeast was destroyed and an adjunct building of the High Court was constructed there, totally devoid of any aesthetic sense. The entire campus is now choking with buildings and the lung space is completely devastated. Apart from the three High Court buildings and the Law College, twenty more buildings have been constructed, with a threat of a few more raising their heads. New memorial structures also crowd the space. To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the High Court, a monstrous arch has been constructed at the southern entrance, at a cost of a million rupee. There are rules that new buildings and structures should not be constructed within 300 metres of heritage sites. Has the High court granted itself immunity from these rules? A plan of the Chief Minister to construct a ‘Legislative Assembly Diamond Jubilee Arch’ in front of the Fort St.George had to be changed because of this rule. The construction of many new buildings in the High Court campus should be stopped. The Committee of Judges formed to oversee heritage sites should bestow some thought to this matter. It is no matter of pride that the Madras High Court campus contains the largest number of Courts in India. The compelling logic of the day is to decentralize power centres. In the context of the furious special expansion of the jurisdiction of Madras Corporation, the majesty of the High Court can be sustained only by relocating the many lower Courts located inside the High Court campus. Madras High Court HC Campus becoming Concrete Jungle

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