HC stays demolition of Besant Memorial Building

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Chennai, Aug 11 (UNI) Madras High Court today restrained the governing body of the Young Men's Indian Association (YMIA) from demolishing the Besant Memorial Building in the city, a heritage structure popularly known as Gokhale Hall.

Mr Justice A Kulasekaran granted the interim stay after admitting a writ petition filed by Mr T C Sankar Raju, a life member of YMIA, seeking a direction to the authorities to protect the heritage building.

The petitioner submitted that the Association was started by freedom fighter Annie Besant and the heritage building was one of the three buildings built during her period as Young Men's Club with gymnasium, lecture hall, library and reading room.

The Besant Memorial Building had been declared as a heritage structure for its national and regional importance and its European architecture, historical and cultural values.

He submitted that though the building was strong and required only some minor repair works, Association Treasurer G Narayanaswamy was bent upon demolishing the structure for vested interests.

He contended that in the name of the governing body, tender notice was published in English and Tamil dailies for the demolition of the heritage structure.

The petitioner said the draft second master plan of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Corporation (CMDA) had regulations to protect heritage buildings.

The Judge after staying the demolition of the building, in an interim order, ordered notice to the YMIA Secretary and other respondents.


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