SC pulls up TN govt over strike; warns of contempt proceedings

SC pulls up TN govt over strike; warns of contempt proceedings

New Delhi: Severely pulling up the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government, the Supreme Court on 1 October warned that if it did not comply with its order on the bandh, it would not hesitate to direct the Centre to impose President’s rule.

“If there is no compliance with our order, it is complete breakdown of Constitutional machinery. We will then have to direct the government to impose President’s rule," a bench headed by acting Chief Justice B.N. Aggarwal and Justice P. Sathasivam said.

The bench’s remarks came when the counsel appearing for AIADMK mentioned that Sunday’s order was not being complied with by the government and state-run buses were not plying in Tamil Nadu.

In an extraordinary sitting on Sunday, the bench stayed the bandh called by the ruling DMK front and asked the government to stop it.

“Is this a government. Is this the Tamil Nadu government. Is this the DMK government, a strong ally of UPA government? If this is attitude of the DMK government, the UPA government should not feel shy of dismissing it and imposing President rule," the bench observed.

The bench said, if the Tamil Nadu government would not comply with its order, it would not hesitate to summon the Chief Secretary.

“You can file a contempt petition," the bench said, when the AIADMK counsel apprised it about the situation prevailing in the state.

The DMK counsel told the court that only party leaders are sitting on fast and only some unions are involved in such activities.

‘Judiciary should stay within limits’

In Chennai, speakers at the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) day long fast to press for speedy implementation of the Sethusamudram project, on 1 October criticised the judiciary, saying that ‘the judiciary should stay within its limits.’

Union shipping minister T.R. Baalu wondered whether the courts were giving the right decisions. “Why would there be appeals or higher benches if every judge was right?" he asked.

In an apparent reference to the recent controversy surrounding former Supreme Court judge Y. K. Sabharwal, Baalu said that even persons in the judiciary commit scandals. “There is an impeachment procedure even for judges in this regard," he said.

CPI national secretary D Raja said that only Parliament should decide on people’s welfare and related issues,“ which courts should not interfere with." He was apparently referring to the apex court stay on the DPA bandh today for speedy implementation of the Sethusamudram project.

“The Supreme Court has been giving some strange verdicts on issues like the SSCP, 27% OBC quota and other labour issues," he said, while stressing that ‘courts should stay within their limits.´

Dravida Kazhagam president K. Veeramani, in his address, criticised the “enthusiasm of the apex body’ to hear a case even on a Sunday, whereas lakhs of cases are pending in many courts across India.

Earlier, DPA leaders, led by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi began a state-wide day long fast to press for speedy implementation of the project.

The Chief Minister had clarified on 30 September the fast was not against the Apex Court ruling.

While the Chief Minister and DPA leaders are observing the fast in front of the government guest house here, workers of the alliance are observing it in front of all district and taluk headquarters in the state.

Alliance leaders, including PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss, TNCC state president M Krishnasamy,CPI(M) leader N Vardarajan, CPI national secretary D Raja, Dravida Kazhagam leader K Veeramani, Dalit Panthers of India founder Tol Tirumavalavan, besides union shipping minister T R Baalu and minister of state for statistics, G K Vasan are participating in the fast.

Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha MP and his son, the local administration minister M K Stalin, besides electricity minister Arcot Veerasamy and finance minister K Anbazhagan also joined them in the fast.

AIADMK moves HC on ‘violation’ of apex court order

As a “virtual bandh" is being observed in Tamil Nadu despite the Supreme Court’s stay, the opposition AIADMK made a special mention before the Madras High Court with regard to “violation of the Apex Court order."

AIADMK legal advisor N Jothi, MP, made the mention before a bench, comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice P Jyothimani, that the government did not operate public transport, despite the Apex Court order.

They had also engaged goondas to threaten shop owners and commercial establishments to down their shutters, he said.

The Bench said it would take up the matter at 1200 hrs.