Governor promulgates ordinance to take possession of Jaya’s house

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has promulgated an ordinance to temporarily take possession of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence and moveable items therein to the State government.

This move has been done to establish ‘Puratchi Thalaivi Dr J Jayalalithaa Memorial Foundation’ for making long term arrangements to convert Veda Nilayam as a memorial.

The Foundation will have the Chief Minister as the chairerson and Deputy CM< Information and Publicity Minister, government officials as members and Director of Information and Public Relations as Member Secretary.

The Tamil Nadu government had recently formally started the process of acquiring former Jayalalithaa’s residence to convert it into a memorial. However, the public notice said that the legal heir of the property was yet to be ascertained.

Veda Nilayam is a sprawling three-storey structure at the upmarket Poes Garden area in Chennai. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had in 2017 announced that it will be converted into a memorial. The residence that was purchased by Jayalalithaa and her mother in 1962 is currently not occupied by anyone.

A dispute on the legal possession of the late Chief Minister’s house reached the Madras High Court in 2018 and multiple hearings have been held since then. Even so, the government recently issued its third and last declaration notification, a legal requirement for acquisition, in the media, in which it announced that “the acquisition of lands mentioned in the schedule below are needed for the public purpose that is to convert the land and buildings of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Selvi J. Jayalalithaa (late) ‘Veda Illam’ at Poes Garden as government memorial.”

The declaration notification from the Chennai Collector, issued under Sub-Section (1) of 19 of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 (Central Act 30 of 2013), further clarifies that the project does not involve any displacement and relocation of families.

It said: “There are no Project Affected Families and hence no question of relocation, resettlement and rehabilitation. The plan of the land under acquisition kept in the Office of the Land Acquisition Officer/ Revenue Divisional Officer, South Chennai Revenue Division, Guindy, Chennai 32 and may be inspected at any time during office hours.”