The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered issuance of notice to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palanisamy and four state ministers on a plea seeking their disqualification over a meeting the ministers reportedly had with jailed AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala.
The court’s Madurai bench sought an explanation from Palanisamy over the allegation that he had not questioned his cabinet colleagues over their meeting a few months ago with Sasikala, currently serving a prison term in a graft case, to discuss “functioning of the government”.
When the PIL by Anazhagan, son of former AIADMK MLA late Thamaraikani, came up, a division bench of Justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan ordered issuance of notice to the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues, K A Sengottaiyan, Dindigul Srinivasan, Kamaraj and Sellur K Raju and secretary of the state assembly, returnable by 7 August.
The petitioner submitted that the ministers meeting the accused in the prison was a “violation” of the oath taken by them as ministers and they should be disqualified.
The chief minister should also be disqualified for not pulling them up, he contended.
Sasikala had been convicted in the disproportionate assets case by the Supreme Court on 14 February, and is undergoing imprisonment in a Bengaluru jail.
The party's spokesperson, Gowri Shankar, had on February 22 in an interview to a private TV channel said the state government would be run "on the advice and guidance of AIADMK General secretary Sasikala," the petitioner had said, adding no minister had denied his statement.
Besides on 28 February, the four ministers had admitted that they had met Sasikala in prison and discussed the functioning of the government, he alleged.
The “admission” by the ministers that their government was being run on the advise of Sasikala showed that the chief minister and the four ministers violated the Constitution, he said.
The chief minister also had not given any view against the statement of the ministers nor had he denied it, he said.
He then sought the intervention of the court and an order disqualifying the chief minister and the ministers.
The petitioner also prayed for a direction to the speaker and secretary of the state assembly to do the same.