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Chennai:

 
The Madras High Court on Wednesday declared J. Deepak and J. Deepa as the second line legal heirs of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and suggested to the government to convert part of the latter’s residence as a memorial.

The court also suggested that part of Jayalalithaa’s residence ‘Veda Nilayam’ could be used as the Chief Minister’s office.

The Tamil Nadu government has been given eight weeks time to reply to the court’s suggestions.

The two-member bench consisting of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhose, who dismissed the petition filed by an advocate to appoint an administrator to manage Jayalalithaa’s properties.

Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa and nephew Deepak had filed a petition in the court to declare them as the legal heirs to Jayalalithaa.

Speaking to a television channel Deepa expressed her happiness at the court order. She said the credit for this should go to her brother Deepak.

Deepa told the television channel that the next course of action should be discussed.

The court judgement comes days after the Tamil Nadu government promulgated an ordinance to take temporary possession of Jayalalithaa’s residence located here.

The government said Jayalalithaa’s residence will be converted into a memorial.

According to the government, the ordinance will enable setting up of Puratchi Thalaivi Dr J. Jayalalithaa Memorial Foundation for the purpose to be headed by Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and also include Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and others as members.

Palaniswami had earlier announced the government’s decision to convert Jayalalithaa’s residence into a memorial.

The government said the building and all the movable properties at Veda Nilayam — furniture, jewels, books and others are in a state of disuse. Hence all the immovable and movable properties are transferred to the government for proper upkeep until the acquisition process is fully completed.

The state government on May 6 issued the notification under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 for the acquisition of Veda Nilayam.

According to the notification, the project does not involve the displacement of families/relocation.

However, objecting to the acquisition of Veda Nilayam by the government, Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa had filed a case in the Madras High Court.

The residents of the Poes Garden had also opposed the government’s move.

Jayalalithaa died in December 2016 after a prolonged illness.

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