Anna Centenary Library: Madras HC stays shifting

In a further setback to the ruling AIADMK government`s plans to shift the `world class` Anna Centenary Library from its present location to another

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2011, 00:28 AM IST

Chennai: In a further setback to the ruling
AIADMK government`s plans to shift the `world class` Anna
Centenary Library from its present location to another, the
Madras High Court on Friday said the government should not
construct a building for the purpose.

On November 4 last,the First Bench comprising Chief Justic
M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam had in an interim order
restrained the state from shifting the library, constructed by
the previous DMK government from its present location to the
Directorate of Public Instruction complex until further
orders.

"Let it be made clear that this interim direction amounts to
forbearing the state from proceeding to make any construction
for the purpose of shifting the library,"the Judges said while
hearing seven petitions from various quarters, challenging a
Government Order of Nov 2 on shifting the library.

The Bench said `the library shall function as it is
without any interference."

The Judges posted the petitions for hearing on Jan 19
next after state Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan sought
an adjournment of hearing till after the pongal holidays.

When the matter came up for hearing, no counter affidavit
had been filed in response to the petitions.

The AG produced a letter from the Additional Chief
Secretary, requesting a short adjournment for filing a counter
affidavit.

In a PIL Tamil poet Kavignar Ilayabharathi said his
petition `is aimed at preserving the granary to feed the
thirst of public general knowledge` and challenge the G.O. to
shift the library from its location at Kotturpuram to the DPI
complex.

Describing the library as a world class facility with
various unique features besides being student friendly, the
petitioner referred to an interview in which an architect of
the library C N Raghavendran had told a national daily that
the building was constructed only for the purpose of
accommodating a library.

Any attempt to convert it for any other purpose would
ruin it and defeat the very objective for which the building
was made, he had said.

Claiming that when the building was constructed
specifically for a library after obtaining permission from the
Ministry of Environment and Forests, it could not be put to
any other use, the petitioner sought to declare as `null and
void` the government`s decision to shift the library and
convert the vacated building into a hospital.

Petitioner`s counsel P Wilson said public access to
the library had been restricted after government`s decision to
shift it.

In another petition, senior advocate R Gandhi also
sought to forbear the Jayalalithaa government from shifting
the library from Kotturpuram to any other place.

PTI