Over a year after former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa passed away, the foundation stone was laid for her memorial at Marina Beach, Chennai, on May 7.
She currently lies buried next to her mentor and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MG Ramachandran, and the temporary memorial will be converted to a permanent structure. The proposed structure would be the third memorial along the Marina beach, alongside the Anna Memorial built in memory of former Chief Minister CN Annadurai and the MGR Memorial.
However, the project has constantly been in trouble, with people filing public interest litigations and petitions in the Madras High Court. What are the things that the memorial has run into trouble for?
On May 16, a public interest litigation was filed in the Madras High Court which sought to shift her mortal remains from the beach to a non-coastal area. S Jayaseelan, the advocate who filed the PIL, also asked the court to restrain the Central and state governments from erecting a memorial at the present burial site.
Jayaseelan said that he filed the PIL because no convict should be given a state honour. â€śNo convict should be given a state honour. Memorials are raised in praise and in memory of the leaders who spent their life for public cause. Jayalalithaa went to jail not for any public cause, but for looting Tamil Nadu of Rs 53 crore,â€ť he told the Hindu.
In his petition, Jayaseelan also pointed out that the structure was in violation of the Coastal Regulatory Zone 2011 notification, which bans the construction of permanent structures on the beach.
A PIL was also filed by activist Traffic Ramaswamy on similar grounds - for the construction of the Jaya memorial on the beach and because she was convicted in the disproportionate assets case. His also wanted the court to restrain the government from building the memorial at Veda Nilayam with public funds.
Both Jayaseelan and Traffic Ramaswamyâ€™s petitions will be heard together by the Madras High Court on June 6. The petitions were tagged together and posted for hearing by a vacation bench comprising of Justices R Subramanian and M Dhandapani.
A batch of petitions filed against the construction of the memorial was also dismissed in April by the Madras High Court as the petitioners were not present in court.
The BJP youth wing submitted a petition to Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit demanding that Jayalalithaaâ€™s memorial should not be constructed on Marina beach and said that it was unnecessary to construct a memorial someone charged with corruption, and argued that the state was already facing a cash crunch.