CHENNAI: Noting that the Indian government cannot put fetters on a citizen's right to make use of his own land in any manner without causing hindrance to anyone, the Madras high court permitted erection of a bust-size statue of K Muthukumar, who committed self-immolation in Chennai last year protesting the alleged killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Justice K Chandru, rejecting the government's objections to the statue, said: "If the argument of the special government pleader is accepted, then for putting up the picture of one's own parents or forefathers in private patta lands, they should move the authorities for permission. The government is trying to clutch a non-existing power."
The judge said: "Muthukumar, a Tamil youth abortively terminated his life for a cause which was dearer to him on January 29, 2009, at Chennai. The incident shocked the state. Muthukumar's last testament was widely publicised in all newspapers. There were meetings to condone his death and he was adored for the spirit of sacrifice."
The present petition was filed by P Maniarasan, general secretary of Thamizh Thesa Poduvudamai Katchi. He wanted to erect a bust-size statue of Muthukumar in a land exclusively belonging to a private person, at Sanoorapatti village in Thanjavur taluk. He approached the high court after the district authorities did not grant permission for the function.
While the petitioner contended that the government permission was not required for installing a statue on private property, the special government pleader submitted that without permission from the government, Maniarasan could not go ahead with the erection of the statue. He said Maniarasan should also provide land ownership details and must give an undertaking that the statue would be made of bronze. In future, if there is any hindrance to traffic, the statue should be removed from the existing place, he said.
Justice Chandru, rejecting the submissions, said: "Whether the statue should be made of clay or wood or stone or metal is to be left to the volition of the organisers. It may be the policy of the state that bronze statue alone should be erected in public places, lest any other forms are likely to be damaged by miscreants. But such ideas cannot be thrust upon to private citizens who set up memorial in their own lands." (Times of India)