A controversy erupted on Tuesday night after the Tamil Nadu government rejected the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's demand for allotting space on the Marina beach for the burial of its leader M Karunanidhi and offered space near the memorials of former chief ministers C Rajagopalachari and K Kamraj.
Hours later, DMK moved the Madras high court challenging its decision.
A late-night hearing on the issue was held at the residence of acting Chief Justice of the Madras high court Huluvadi G Ramesh, where HC decided to adjourn the matter for 8 am on Wednesday because the state government sought more time to reply.
Earlier, DMK working president M K Stalin, recalling the long public life of Karunanidhi, had written to Chief Minister K Palaniswami seeking space inside the mausoleum complex of the departed leader's mentor C N Annadurai at the Marina.
Stalin had also met the chief minister hours before his father's death.
A government statement said it was 'unable to allot space at Marina beach owing to several pending cases in the Madras high court and legal complications'.
Hence, the government is prepared to allott a two-acre site on Sardar Patel Road near the memorials to Rajaji and Kamaraj, it said.
Some reports said the government was reluctant about allotting space for Karunanidhi's burial at the Marina as he was not a sitting chief minister.
Later, senior counsel for DMK P Wilson and Saravanan went to the HC and sought permission to move an urgent motion.
Saravanan said the court pulled-up the government for not allowing burial at Marina and it will pass the order on Wednesday morning.
In a late-night twist, advocate Doraisamy, who had filed a petition against burial on Marina, said he will withdraw all his cases so as they pose no legal hurdle to the state government.
"I withdraw all cases in this regard because Kalaignar Karunanidhi is important for us. So now, there are no legal hurdles for the government," he said.
Moreover, lawyer who represented Traffic Ramaswamy also accepted in the court that in this situation, he doesn't have any objection.
"After this, the government side said they need some more time to file a response. The court granted time for hearing at 8 am tomorrow," Balu, lawyer for Pattali Makkal Katchi said.
Opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and D Raja, besides actor Rajinikanth backed the DMK's demand and urged the government to allot the leader a space on the famed sands.
Incidentally, the development came on a day when a PIL filed in the Madras high court seeking to restrain the Corporation of Greater Chennai from permitting any burial of bodies on the famous Marina Beach was dismissed as withdrawn.
DMK cadres held impromptu protests and engaged in sloganeering demanding a place for Karunanidhi's burial at the Marina beach even as minor incidents of violence were reported from some parts of the state.
Opposition parties backed the DMK's demand for Karunanidhi's burial at the Marina.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi said that like the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi was an expression of the voice of the Tamil people and that he 'deserves to be given space on the Marina beach'.
'Like Jayalalitha ji, Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) was an expression of the voice of the Tamil people. That voice deserves to be given space on Marina Beach. I am sure the current leaders of Tamil Nadu will be magnanimous in this time of grief,' he said in a tweet.
Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Sitaram Yechury described the denial of burial site at the Marina as 'unfortunate'.
'This denial of the burial site for Kalaignar is most unfortunate. Thiru (Mr) Karunanidhi deserves his rightful place of rest next to Anna. #Kalaingnar,' he said in a tweet.
Communist Party of India National Secretary D Raja said Karunanidhi should be given a 'honourable last journey'.
"DMK as a party and Karunanidhi's family requested for space in Marina. The state government must deal with the issue in a dignified way, accepting the request," he said.
The government, he said, should not create hurdles as it will be a 'dishonour' for such a man.
"I appeal to the state govt to accept the request of DMK and the family," he added.
Tamil film industry's superstar Rajinikanth urged the state government to 'take all efforts' to lay to rest Karunanidhi near the Anna Memorial on Marina.
'That is the due respect we would be giving to that great man,' he said in a tweet.
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and PMK also backed the DMK.
A petition was filed in the Madras high court in July last year seeking a direction for exhumation of the mortal remains of Jayalalithaa and burying them at a place away from the coast.
In March last year, Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhgaam, a rationalist Dravidian outfit, had also filed a petition in the high court on the issue.
It sought to prevent the government from building a memorial to Jayalalithaa at her burial site.
In April this year, the Madras high court had dismissed a batch of five public interest litigation petitions on such matters.
Former chief minister M G Ramachandran and his protegee J Jayalalitha were buried at the Marina beach and memorials to them were erected there. Both were bitter foes of Karunanidhi in politics.
Karunanidhi's predecessor Annadurai was also in office when he died.