Madras High Court speeds up proposal to free its campus of trial courts

Considers utilising ₹202 crore to construct a new trial court building on 3.34 acres

The Madras High Court has speeded up a long pending proposal to free its campus of numerous trial courts and shift them to a new building to be constructed by utilising ₹202 crore, which the State government had already sanctioned.

According to sources, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee was considering the possibility of utilising the ₹202 crore for constructing a multi-storey trial court building on 3.34 acres of land acquired by the State government near the High Court campus.

Senior Counsel N.L. Rajah, who was a part of the High Court’s Heritage Committee, said the 3.34 acre campus would provide a floor space index of around 3 lakh square feet, and it would be sufficient enough to house the sessions courts, family courts, city civil courts and small causes courts.

He pointed out that over 104 trial court halls were functioning inside the High Court campus at present and they had made the entire campus highly cramped. If the trial courts were shifted to the adjacent 3.34 acre campus, the heritage buildings on the High Court campus would be able to breathe well, he added.

Mr. Rajah also stated that all damages caused due to construction of metro rail to another heritage building, which was housing the Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College in Chennai until a few years ago, had been rectified and the building had been restored completely to its original glory.

“Experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras gave their suggestions on the restoration work to be carried out and it was executed by the Public Works Department (PWD). Further, all other buildings, except the heritage building, on the old law college campus have been demolished,” he said.

Sources said that the State government had actually sanctioned ₹202 crore for constructing a new building for trial courts inside the old law college campus. However, the construction could not take place due to the existence of an ancient monument nearby.

Mr. Rajah explained that there was a British era Christian tomb near the old law college campus. It was perceived to be one of the oldest colonial monuments in Asia. No new construction activity could be permitted in the vicinity of the tomb as per the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act of 1904, he said.

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