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Upholding supremacy of law, DMK style!

Upholding supremacy of law, DMK style!

Author: B.R.Haran.
Publication: News Today
Date: August 6, 2008
URL: http://newstodaynet.com/col.php?section=20&catid=29

'What type of people are you? Are you above the law? You are not above everything. Will you dictate this court also? The Chief Minister is not above the law. We will issue arrest warrant against the Chief Minister and seek his personal appearance in the court'.

Thus, the Supreme Court admonished the Tamilnadu government for not replying to its notice, which was sent on 4 October 2007 over the contempt petition filed by AIADMK. In the aftermath of the UPA filing an affidavit denouncing Bhagwan Rama and Ramayana in September 2007 and withdrawing it immediately after the entire nation protested, the DMK- led DPA (Democratic Progressive Alliance) announced a Statewide bandh, which was observed in total on 1 October 2007 with the connivance of the government machinery, defying the 'directive' of the Supreme court to refrain from observing the bandh.

While ensuring the totality of the bandh misusing the official machinery, the DPA attempted to project it as a 'hunger strike', as the Supreme Court warned of imposing President's rule.

The Chief Minister, who claimed that he had not received the 'order' issued by the SC staying the bandh call, hurriedly ended his fasting in the afternoon itself and attended office just to create a scenario as if the Secretariat was functioning and bandh was not observed. Had the Chief Minister taken the SC order in the right spirit, he could have easily stopped the bandh and ensured the functioning of State peacefully, as he has a phenomenal influence on his party cadres and government machinery.

But as an exhibition of conceit and mark of contempt, he allowed the cadres of his party and alliance parties and the affiliated trade unions to make the bandh a grand success.

Even during the so-called hunger strike, the Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu went to the extent of questioning the Supreme Court Judges. He asked, 'Are the judges infallible? Can they dictate terms to a democratically elected government?'

Almost all the Tamilnadu- based media houses (both print and electronic) reported, carrying pictorial evidences, that the bandh was total and even condemned the government for sponsoring the bandh and for not heeding the Supreme Court's directive. An organisation by name 'Naam' (We) organised a seminar in the city on the topic 'Limits of Judicial authority', where in, CPI-M leader and MP Brinda Karat, Union Minister A Raja and Rajya Sabha MP and Chief minister's daughter Kanimozhi participated and condemned the judiciary in no uncertain terms.

The opposition AIADMK, which was waiting for a chance to nail the DMK and the Chief Minister, moved the Supreme Court with a contempt petition against Chief Minister, T R Baalu, State Transport Minister K N Nehru, State DGP and the Chief Secretary on 4 October, 2007. The SC immediately admitted the petition and issued notice to all of them seeking explanation.

Since then, these men have been dodging the SC by seeking adjournments and finally the court granted the last opportunity and asked them to file their replies by March 30, 2008. Even then the Chief Secretary and the DGP only filed replies, that too only on 30 July and there as no reply from Karunanidhi, Baalu and Nehru. As the case came up for hearing again on Monday, the Supreme Court lost its cool and got agitated at the total contempt of these men and rapped them.

In this context, it would be appropriate to take reference from the case between E M S Namboodripad and T N Nambiar (AIR 1970 SC 2015). EMSN was accused of condemning the Judiciary and when T N Nambiar pulled him to the SC, he himself argued his case and tried to justify his remarks against the judiciary. EMS's justification was not accepted by the SC and he was hauled up and even though he deserved a minimum punishment of 6 months rigorous imprisonment, the top court stopped with a reprimand and also ruled that the court of law can take 'suo motu' cognisance of such statements in future and that it has the power with executive authority under the Constitution. The point to note here is that, EMS had a decent & upright image and he had not used any abusive language against the Judiciary, unlike the present leaders, whose image & public standing is not so good as EMS.

The Supreme Court had acted as per the Law of the Land and its judgement was based on the Constitution of our country. The opinions of the judges were also in accordance with the law of the land. The Laws of the Land are formulated and promulgated by Parliament, which is formed by politicians supposedly representing the people. If the politicians criticise and make disparaging comments on the Judiciary, then it not only amounts to contempt of court, but also amounts to contempt of Parliament itself, as they are the makers of those laws considered by the judiciary.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's warning, the Chief Minister has brazenly put the blame on the government's lawyers and said, 'The two lawyers did not bring to my notice the urgency of the matter and the need to file the affidavits in time' and he has sacked them too! Here is an octogenarian politician having a vast experience of more than sixty years in politics, out of which fifty years in the State assembly, telling the people that he was not aware of the urgency of the matter. Will any sensible person believe the claptrap that the lawyers have failed to remind him? Is he not having a member of his party (K Venkitapathi) holding the post of Minister of state for Law and a senior Law Minister Duraimurugan in the State Cabinet, as rightly asked by 'Puthiya Thamizhagam' leader Krishnasamy?

The Chief Minister completed the formality of reacting to the SC's condemnation by firing yet another salvo, 'This government has always upheld the supremacy of law'! One need not retrospect the entire governance of DMK since 1967 to understand how it had upheld the supremacy of law. The last two years of its governance are enough and the best example was its reaction on the SC judgment staying the implementation of the OBC reservations, where in it asked, 'who are the three Aryan (Brahmin or Forward Caste) Judges to decide the future of millions of OBCs?'

It would be ideal to close this article with the words of bravado from State Electricity Minister Arcot Veerasamy, who spoke in front of the Chief Minister, He said,'Judges should not cross their limits and hold kangaroo courts. Some of them are behaving as if they have jumped from heaven! They should know their limits. They don't have a legal sanction to criticise an elected Chief Minister or his government. Do they have more responsibility than the CM? Who gave them the authority to usurp the powers of Chief Minister?' So much for the DMK's upholding supremacy of the law.

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