Staff Reporter

Grounds: failing to attend three successive council meetings

CHENNAI: A councillor in the Chennai Corporation Council, T. Paneerselvam of the Congress, has filed a petition in the Small Causes Court seeking the disqualification of Deputy Mayor R. Thiagarajan for failing to attend three successive Corporation council meetings.

Mr. Paneerselvam, the Ward 39 councillor, is the second councillor to file a petition on the issue with the court. He filed it as an election petition under Sections 53 (disqualification of councillors) and 54 (decision of questions of disqualification of councillors by the Chief Judge of Small Causes Court) of the Madras City Municipal Corporation Act, 1919.

Former councillor R. Mano had earlier filed a petition but withdrew subsequently, saying he did not want to proceed as Mr. Thiagarajan had joined his party. Mr. Thiagarajan did not attend the council meetings held on November 21, February 1 and 2. He was in hiding, away from the city for more than six months, alleging threats from the previous All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime. The Corporation Commissioner convened the meetings in his absence after a Government order empowered him to do so. The AIADMK, meanwhile, dismissed him from the party stating he was indulging in anti-party activities.

Councillors from the AIADMK, who are in a majority in the council, tried to raise the issue at the Corporation council meeting held on May 30. But the watch and ward staff upon instructions of Mr. Thiagarajan forcibly evicted them.

In his official response to the council, Corporation Commissioner M.P. Vijayakumar had said the Advocate General's opinion had been sought.