CHENNAI: The centuries-old Government Madrasa-I-Azam Higher Secondary School building on Anna Salai, which has been declared as a heritage structure and yet faced the axe, shall not be demolished until further orders, a division bench of the Madras High Court has said.
The bench of justices T S Sivagnanam and K Ravichandrabaabu on Wednesday gave the directive while passing interim orders on a PIL petition from Abdul Basith, executive committee member of the parent-school association.
“Considering the submissions, we deem it appropriate that no demolition of the building in question shall be done till the writ petition is heard by this court and the authorities concerned shall justify their action as to why they propose to demolish the building,” the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on December 22.
According to the petitioner’s counsel, R Abdul Mubeen, the school having a glorious past was a part of the property belonging to the Nawabs of Carnatic/Arcot. The then Nawab of Wallajah established the Madrasa in 1761, exclusively for the children of the Carnatic Royal Family. Later, the medium of instruction was expanded and all children irrespective of their religions were admitted.
The Heritage Conservation Committee, headed by Justice E Padmanabhan, a retired judge of the Madras High Court, set up in 2006, identified the school building as a heritage structure and classified it as Grade-1 Building. By a communication dated June 30, 2010, the government also designated the building as a heritage structure and ordered it should not be demolished or destroyed.
During the course of time, the structure got dilapidated. Since the school was run by the government, it should have carried out repair works. But it did not do so.
In the wake of the recent rains, the condition of the structure worsened and the State PWD cordoned off the area and announced that a wedding hall would be constructed in a portion of the school. Hence, the present PIL for a direction to restrain the authorities concerned from permitting or allowing demolition, modification or alteration or any further construction on the heritage structure.