New Delhi : Tamil Nadu’s opposition AIADMK party Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking initiation of contempt to court proceedings against state Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and union Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu for enforcing a shutdown in the state ignoring the apex court’s order banning it.
In the petition filed through its counsel Subramaniam Prasad, the AIADMK also urged the court to initiate contempt proceedings against state Transport Minister K.N. Nehru, Chief Secretary L.K. Tripathi, police chief P. Rajendran and transport secretary Debendranath Sarangi.
The petition follows Justice B.N. Agarwal’s angry outburst on Monday against Karunanidhi and the state administration for allegedly ignoring the court’s Sunday order banning the proposed shutdown in the state on Monday, called by the ruling DMK for speedy implementation of the Sethusamundram canal project.
“If you (can) make out a case for contempt to court, we will not hesitate in summoning even the chief minister and the chief secretary,” the bench headed by Justice Agarwal had said Monday after AIADMK counsel Guru Krishna Kumar had apprised the court of the shutdown despite its ban order.
“This is not merely violation of our order, but a complete breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state,” Justice Agrawal had thundered.
“If this is the situation, we will recommend to (the central government) to impose President’s rule in the state,” he had added.
While urging the court to launch contempt proceedings against state for enforcing the shutdown, the AIADMK also sought arraignment of Baalu under the contempt laws for allegedly questioning the apex court’s authority in banning the proposed shutdown.
Quoting Baalu’s statements in various newspapers, the AIADMK said that, “the union minister made a deliberate and calculated attempt to denude the dignity of the apex court by imputing motives to judicial process”.
The petitioner quoted Baalu as questioning Sunday’s special sitting of the court by saying, “When was sitting ever held on a Sunday. Unprecedented things are happening (in judiciary).”
“If we want to conduct a bandh (shutdown) in a democratic manner to ensure speedy implementation of the project, the Supreme Court is banning the same. Are judgements being delivered correctly in the courts? If that is so why are the higher courts granting stay to lower courts’ rulings?” Baalu was quoted as saying in the media.
Elaborating upon the extent of shutdown in the state on Monday, the AIADMK petition said: “Out of 18,641 state transport buses, only 61 buses were plied, while attendance in offices, schools, colleges etc dwindled to a nil.”
“Even essential service like milk supply was affected in some places. Air services were also hit. Cinema halls did not operate during the day. Ironically, the state-run liquor vends remained open during the day of the shutdown on Monday,” the AIADMK petition said.
Following the court’s stay on the bandh, Karunanidhi and his ministers as well as party MP Baalu had observed a fast, which they called off after the court castigated them for bringing the state to a halt, ignoring its ruling.