Special Correspondent

Panel of eminent persons sought to monitor law and order situation in southern districts

Petition was filed on the basis of vague allegations in the name of public interest: Bench

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition filed by the AIADMK, seeking a direction to constitute a body of eminent persons to monitor the law and order situation in the southern districts.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices S.J. Mukhopadhaya and M. Venugopal, said the petition was filed on the basis of vague allegations in the name of public interest. It appeared to have been filed in political interest by one party against another.

The AIADMK, represented by its Fisheries Wing Secretary, D. Jayakumar, MLA, submitted that the body, comprising persons of integrity, should send monthly reports to the court.

Initially, the petition was filed before the Madurai Bench. On the petitioner’s request, it was transferred to the Principal Bench.

According to the petitioner, M.K. Azhagiri controlled the entire administration of the southern districts as an extra constitutional authority on appointment of Collectors, top-ranking police officers, etc., apart from appointment of other important officers of various government departments.

“No specific incident”

The Bench said apart from general allegations against Mr. Azhagiri, no specific incident had been shown in the writ petition, except the incident of attack alleged to have been made on the office of Dinakaran, a Tamil newspaper (in Madurai), by a gang of 50 persons on May 9.

No individual incident had been mentioned, apart from the one relating to the attack on the newspaper office.

No complaint had been lodged either before the police or before any judicial magistrate. So the court was not inclined to accept any vague allegation.

As regards the incident relating to the newspaper office, the State government, with a view to ensuring transparency, had handed over the matter to the CBI. The investigation having been handed over to a Central agency, the question of monitoring such a case by any “body of persons/committee” did not arise, the Bench said.

It said the petitioner had not disclosed the source of information, particularly in respect of certain allegations, for which no complaint appeared to have been lodged.

“In the present case, the main allegation relates to failure of the Constitutional machinery of the State in maintaining law and order. Apart from the fact that the allegations are vague, the subject matter is covered by Article 356 of the Constitution of India, which empowers the President of the country to pass certain orders in terms of the provisions made therein.”

As it was pointed out that the allegations in the present case and the subject matter were wholly within the domain of the legislature, exercising such power in the name of “public interest” and “maintenance of law and order,” under Art.226 of the Constitution, did not arise, the Bench said.