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Business News/ News / India/  'Outright disregard..', MK Stalin writes to Governor over dismissing minister without advice
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'Outright disregard..', MK Stalin writes to Governor over dismissing minister without advice

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has criticized Governor R N Ravi's dismissal of Minister V Senthil Balaji, stating that it demonstrates a disregard for the Constitution. Stalin asserts that the power to dismiss ministers rests solely with the elected chief minister.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin (PTI)Premium
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin (PTI)

In a strongly worded response to Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi's correspondence regarding the dismissal of Minister V Senthil Balaji, Chief Minister MK Stalin has criticized the letters, stating that they demonstrate a complete disregard for the Constitution and reflect the governor's hasty actions. 

As per media reports, Stalin firmly asserted that the power to dismiss ministers rests solely with the elected chief minister and that the governor does not possess the authority to take such actions.

In his letter to the governor, Chief Minister MK Stalin began with a courteous "vanakkam" and proceeded to criticize the governor for making veiled and unsupported threats. Stalin emphasized that both he and his cabinet have the trust and confidence of the people, who hold the ultimate sovereignty in the state.

"I have received your letters dated 29.06.2023 one at 7.00 pm 'said to be dismissing' Thiru V Senthil Balaji from my Cabinet and the other on the same day at 11.45 pm 'keeping in abeyance' the said letter. Though your letters require only an outright disregard, I am writing to you to clarify both the facts and law on the issue on hand," Stalin's letter states.

Letter further notes, “The fact that within a few hours, after you issued such a strongly worded first letter, even alluding to 'breakdown of constitutional machinery', a not so veiled threat, you withdrew it 'to seek the opinion of the Attorney General'. This shows that you had not even taken a legal opinion before such an important decision."

Referring to the Supreme Court ruling in the Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2013) case, Chief Minister MK Stalin highlighted that the Constitutional bench had entrusted the Prime Minister and the chief minister with the discretion to determine the continuation of a person as a minister in their cabinet.

"Therefore, merely because an agency has commenced an investigation against a person, he or she does not become legally incapacitated to continue as a minister," Stalin said, adding, "The above paragraph unambiguously states that disqualification is attracted only after conviction. Thiru V Senthil Balaji, as even your letter notes, has only been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate for investigation and not even a charge sheet has been filed against him till now."

Meanwhile, Stalin criticized the governor for taking action against Minister Senthil Balaji while remaining silent for several months regarding his government's appeals for approvals to investigate and prosecute former ministers and public servants involved in offences during the previous AIADMK government.

The chief minister concluded his letter by asserting that the governor's unconstitutional communication dismissing his minister without his advice holds no legal validity and has been disregarded.


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Mausam Jha
A journalist covering International Relations, and Business.
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Published: 01 Jul 2023, 08:30 AM IST
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