| Satyajit Ray. The high court wants his grandfather's house to be turned into a memorial. A Telegraph picture
During the hearing of a case started suo motu by high court Chief Justice V.S. Sirpurkar, a division bench on Friday advised the state government to set up an institution in memory of Sukumar Ray at the house of his father Upendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury on Gorpar Road, in north Calcutta.
The division bench of the chief justice and Justice A.K. Ganguly wants the government to acquire the building to set up the institution.
In reply, advocate-general Balai Ray pleaded that the government would need time to consider the proposal. The court granted six weeks.
The bench criticised the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) for 'doing nothing' to maintain the building even after declaring it a heritage structure in 2001. 'It's surprising that the civic body did nothing to maintain the house properly,' the chief justice commented.
Appearing for the CMC, advocate Alok Ghosh submitted that his client had appointed an architect to renovate the building. 'The architect is yet to submit a report.'
According to government counsel, the present owner of the building is willing to sell the property to the government. 'The building was constructed on 10 cottahs. Going by the market value, the building would cost at least Rs 50-60 lakh. The government is considering the proposal of acquiring the property and setting up the institution.'
In a related development, the building's owner has filed a petition seeking an order to a private primary school, run from the house, to increase the rent. 'The school is paying Rs 300 per month only,' the lawyer representing the owner told the court.
The issue relating to Upendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury's house surfaced after Chief Justice Sirpurkar moved the suo motu case.
'Now, our children are busy viewing television. They are least bothered about the works of Upendra Kishore or his son Sukumar Ray. We should take steps to ensure that our next generation pays respect to them,' the bench observed.
The chief justice moved the case following a report in a city daily that part of the building, a heritage structure, was being renovated without permission from the CMC.