J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Tuesday asserted in the Supreme Court that the State government and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi violated the order banning the bandh in Tamil Nadu on October 1, 2007, on the Sethusamudram issue and, thereby, committed contempt of court.

Acting on a petition from the AIADMK that all the respondents had disobeyed the order dated September 30, 2007, the Supreme Court had issued contempt notice to the then Chief Secretary; the then DGP; Mr. Karunanidhi; Transport Secretary; Transport Minister and Union Minister T.R. Baalu.

In his submissions before a Bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G.S. Singhvi, AIADMK counsel Guru Krishnakumar argued that Mr. Karunanidhi’s claim that he had not violated the order was false, as there was ample evidence to show that the bandh was enforced. Mr. Karunanidhi had not given details of how the so-called instructions were issued. Any steps taken ought to have been by way of written orders, consistent with the demands of the situation, counsel argued.

He said the claim of total restoration of transport services was false as normal services were not run that day and that normal life in the State was completely paralysed on October 1, 2007 not for non-existent reasons as trotted out, but because of the enforcement of the bandh.

Mr. Justice Agrawal told counsel: “It is not disputed that on coming to know about our order [passed on September 30, 2007] the Chief Minister had announced that the resolution calling for cessation of work the following day was being withdrawn and instead a fast would be undertaken. When the Chief Minister had taken a conscious decision to withdraw the resolution, how can you say that the order was violated? There is no injunction for fast.”

Counsel replied that in the name of fast a bandh took place and shops and establishments remained closed. Justice Agrawal said, “Unless you point out that despite our orders the Chief Minister announced that there would be a bandh, where is the contempt? If the shops did not open even after Chief Minister’s announcement about withdrawal of the resolution on cessation of work, what can the Chief Minister do? ”

Mr. Justice Singhvi told counsel, “Tell us whether any positive step was taken by the administration to enforce the bandh. Whether essential services were affected?”

Senior counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for the Chief Minister, told the court that essential services such as milk and power supply, telecommunication, hospitals were not affected.

Mr. Krishnakumar argued that bandh was enforced indirectly by not giving any instruction to the authorities about the Supreme Court order.