Restore And Conserve Heritage Status Of Rbu Jorasanko Campus, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


Ensure Rabindra Bharati University’s heritage buildings were “conserved and restored”, Calcutta High Court told the West Bengal Heritage Commission and KMC’s municipal building committee on Monday. The high court also asked the bodies to remove all encroachments, both unauthorized constructions and possessions, within the next three weeks.

The HC will hear next the matter on December 19.

A division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj passed the orders while hearing PILs, which alleged that structures at Emerald Bower and Malancha gallery on the RBU’s BT Road campus and two rooms at RBU’s Jorasanko campus, had been tampered with. Among the rooms mentioned in the PIL on the Jorasanko Thakurbari is one in which Rabindranath Tagore and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay had interacted with each other for the first time. The PIL alleged that two rooms at Jorasanko Thakurbari housed an organization, named the West Bengal Siksha Bandhu Samiti.

Before the HC took up the matters for hearing on Monday, the state and RBU filed their reports on the allegations. The Bengal government told the HC that they had received complaint and police had carried out a spot investigation. It also said that an FIR had been registered against unidentified miscreants. Chief Justice Shrivastava, however, had some pointed questions on how could heritage structures be used as party offices. Srijiv Chakraborty, a lawyer who argued for the petitioner, said the party offices should immediately be removed by police and the rooms handed back to RBU. Chakraborty also pleaded that all illegal constructions be stopped immediately, the illegal structures demolished and the heritage status restored.

During the hearing, it was suggested that the rooms were “given by RBU”. It was also suggested that earlier, one political party in office had used it, which passed it on to another political party. But the HC said if there was no possession letter, they should be deemed as illegal occupant. The bench then passed the order, asking for immediate removal of all illegal encroachments and constructions. It asked all departments to work in coordination and also asked KMC to file a report when during the next hearing.

A senior KMC official said, “We are yet to get a copy of the order. All actions will be taken as directed. We, too, have received some complaints, but first, an inspection will be carried out. Based on it, further decisions will be taken.”

The PIL was filed by a Salt Lake resident, Swadesh Majumdar. The PIL also levels charges against an RBU Group-D staffer and a former student for their role in this. The PIL questioned how could the duo “alter, deface and misuse” a Grade-I heritage structure.


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