Vivekananda Ashram seeks to quash National Heritage Department’s gazette decision

The company caretaker of Vivekananda Ashram wants a certiorari order to invalidate the National Heritage Department’s decision and notice dated July 15, 2015 on the gazetting of the area surrounding the buiding as a heritage site under the National Heritage Act 2005. — Picture by Haresh Deol
The company caretaker of Vivekananda Ashram wants a certiorari order to invalidate the National Heritage Department’s decision and notice dated July 15, 2015 on the gazetting of the area surrounding the buiding as a heritage site under the National Heritage Act 2005. — Picture by Haresh Deol

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — The company caretaker of Vivekananda Ashram in Brickfields is seeking to quash the National Heritage Department’s decision to have the vicinity of the building gazetted as a heritage site.

Vivekananda Ashram Kuala Lumpur which also owned the 110-year-old property measuring 43,558 sq ft, filed for leave for judicial review on October 13, naming the department and its commissioner Dr Zainah Ibrahim as respondents.

It also named as respondents, the Tourism and Culture Ministry and its minister.

The company wants a certiorari order to invalidate the department’s decision and notice dated July 15, 2015 on the gazetting of the area surrounding Vivekananda Ashram as a heritage site under the National Heritage Act 2005.

The company is also seeking a declaration that the surrounding site would not be gazetted as a natural or cultural heritage under the National Heritage Act 2005.   

On the other hand, the applicant would only allow the Vivekananda Ashram building to be gazetted as a heritage site.

The company is also seeking a Mandamus order to compel the department to consider gazetting only the building as a heritage site while allowing the surrounding property to be developed.

It further wants a certiorari order to set aside the interim protection order given to the department and alternatively for the latter to pay damages to the company which has allegedly been deprived of the use of its property.

Aside from that, the company is also seeking an interim injunction order to prohibit the department from instituting any action against it or on the vicinity of the building, pending disposal of the application.

The applicant wants RM60,093,920 from the department as compensation for denying the company its basic right to utilise the property.

Meanwhile, counsel Datuk David Gurupatham said the company wanted to preserve the ashram and keep the statue under heritage status.

“The ashram takes care of four Tamil schools and one of it is a smart school.

“The government pays for teachers but the extra-curricular activities came from donations. How to survive if there’s no money..,” he told reporters today.

Earlier, the case was brought for mention before High Court Judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad.

Senior federal counsel Mazlifah Ayob who acted for the respondents said she needed to confirm with the minister before deciding whether to file an objection against the application.

She said the judge set Nov 26 for hearing of the company’s application for leave for judicial review. — Bernama

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