Communist Party of India (CPI) leader R. Nallakannu donned the role of an advocate on Monday.

The 85-year-old leader appeared before a Bench of Justices P. Jyothimani and S. Nagamuthu and argued a case relating to “indiscriminate” sand quarrying in Tamirabarani.

He had filed a public interest litigation petition seeking ban on quarrying. Already five petitions are pending before the Madras High Court Bench.

The CPI leader claimed that sand was being “looted” from a quarry site at Tholappanpannai situated near his native village Srivaikuntam in Tuticorin district.

The Collector had accorded permission to the Public Works Department (PWD) to quarry 54,417 units of sand within six months on the condition that heavy machinery was not used for excavation.

On the contrary, the department had already quarried about 65,000 units of sand within 35 days since mining operations began on August 11 with the help of heavy machinery, he alleged.

Refuting the allegations, a Special Government Pleader said that only 1,758 units of sand had been quarried between August 11 and September 16 when the court stayed mining operations on the entire stretch of the Tamirabarani.

The judges refused to modify the interim stay and adjourned the matter to Wednesday with a direction to the government to file its counter affidavit to the petition filed by the CPI leader.