On Monday, the Madras High Court warned the education association, of which the wife of superstar Rajinikanth, Latha Rajinikanth is the secretary, that she could face contempt of court, if they fail to vacate the premises occupied by their Ashram school, by April 2021.
The bench headed by Justice N. Sathish Kumar also restrained the education association, Sree Raghavendra Educational Society from admitting students at the rented premises from the academic year 2021-22.
The above observations were made on an application preferred as part of a civil suit that the landlords Ch. Venkateswarlu, Ch. Poornachandra Rao, and others had filed in the High Court in 2014 for recovery of Rs 1.99 crore of alleged rental dues till March 2013, along with interest at the rate of 18% per annum. The suit also sought eviction and included actor Rajinikanth, too, as a defendant by claiming him to be the founder trustee of the society.
Latha Rajinikanth, secretary of the Sri Raghavendra Education Association, runs the school Ashram in the Guindy area of Chennai. The school is said to have not paid rent for the land owned by Venkateswaralu and Poornachandra Rao.
Since the school had to be shut down due to COVID-19 since March this year and had to conduct classes only online, the society had moved the court now seeking an extension of time. Through the present application, the applicant sought to extend the time for vacating the property till April 2021.
However, the applicant’s counsel S. Elambharathi told the court that though the society and the landlords had entered into a compromise on 3 August 2018 and it was agreed to vacate the premises by 30 April 2020, the deadline could not be adhered to by the society due to COVID-19. He further stated that the monthly rent had been paid promptly to the landlords and that the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) had also been remitted to the Income Tax Department.
Nonetheless, after hearing both the parties, the judge rejected the first prayer for recovery of alleged rental dues and decreed the suit only with respect to eviction.
Subsequently, the judge went on directing the society to strictly adhere to the final deadline of 30 April 2021 for vacating the property and make sure that the school shifts to some other location after taking away all its belongings. Further, when it was brought to his notice that Mr. Rajinikanth was in no way connected to the society, Justice Kumar struck down the actor’s name from the suit.