CHENNAI: Two courts have been shifted from the Egmore Court Complex to the Allikulam Commercial Complex in Moore Market and have begun functioning from Wednesday. This is to facilitate the renovation and construction of new buildings at Egmore. The move has evoked a mixed response from stakeholders, particularly lawyers.
The shifting process has commenced following a direction from the Madras High Court’s Registry last week, said a judicial officer at Egmore. “Sixth and 13th Metropolitan Magistrate Courts have been completely shifted to the Moore Market Complex, and the courts have started functioning from the new complex. The entire court complex will be shifted by July 31,” added the officer.
While the Chennai Corporation is carrying out renovation work in Allikulam complex to accommodate the courts and provide facilities and improve security on the premise, a group of lawyers claimed that peaceful functioning of courts in Allikulam complex cannot be guaranteed. “How can a court function in the middle of a market,” they exclaimed. Another major grips is the lack of parking, “There is absolutely no space to park vehicles in the Allikulam complex. There are over 1,000 advocates practicing in the 12 magistrate courts. Over 200 of them travel by car and others by two-wheeler. Where is the space to park all these vehicles in the new complex,” questioned advocate K Yogeeswaran, former joint secretary of Egmore Court Advocates Association.
Functioning of courts in Moore Market will add more traffic to the already congested roads connecting Central Railway Station, he added. Alleging that a lot of illegal activities are being carried out in and around the complex, advocate K P Kannan said, “As lawyers, we tend to question activities carried out in violation of law. This might emerge as a problem for the vendors and other people who indulge in such activities. Apart from that, there are no adequate water and toilet facilities available in the market complex. This is going to be hard for us, particularly for women lawyers and litigants,” he added.
“Moreover, security for the accused persons brought to be produced before the courts and the safe custody of documents and other materials in the court’s possession worth crores of rupees is a big question,” Yogeeswaran added.
- There is some dispute on when the Egmore Court was actually built, it is believed that the establishment might be built in 1800
- Historians say that the court was originally used as the premises for the Presidency College, which was established in 1841
- It became the Egmore Police Court sometime in the 1860s
- Currently, Egmore court houses 12 Magistrate Courts and two Fast Track Courts
More on Moore
Moore Market was destroyed in a fire in 1985. The Corporation reconstructed 850 shops on the spot at a cost of `6 crore in 1998
Meanwhile, the Allikulam Commercial Complex Traders Association welcomed the move hoping that it will improve the basic facilities available and the footfall of prospective customers. “We are hopeful that the move will bring more customers to our shops and improve our business. It will also improve the basic facilities like water and clean toilets, which we were demanding for a long period,” said Susheela, president of the Association.
Hinting that the parking in the complex will be a major problem as soon as the courts starts functioning, PNT Arasu, a trader in the complex, said, “The Corporation tried to hand over the entire parking area available to the court. But only after our intervention, they decided to divide it and allot some space for us.”
Brushing aside the apprehension of advocates, a judicial officer involved in the shifting process said, “Complete safety measures have been adopted to safeguard the documents in possession of the courts. A well secured safe room has been provided. We are improving the facilities in the Allikulam complex, including fire safety measures. Adequate toilet and other facilities will be provided.”