"Era Sezhiyan, a person of impeccable character"

The former judge of the Supreme Court, Justice S. Natarajan (second from right), presents a copy of “Parliament for The People,” a publication of Era Sezhiyan’s speeches in Parliament, to Cho S. Ramaswamy, Editor of Thuglak,at a function in Chennai on Saturday. Others from left are Mr. Sezhiyan andVIT University Chancellor G. Viswanathan. Photo : M. Vedhan  

A host of speakers, led by S. Natarajan, former Supreme Court Judge, on Saturday hailed Era Sezhiyan, veteran parliamentarian, for his services to Parliament and steadfast commitment to the protection of constitutional institutions, advocacy of decentralisation and the importance of propriety and probity in public life.

Launching “Parliament for The People,” a publication of Mr Sezhiyan’s speeches in Parliament, at a function here, Mr Natarajan described the parliamentarian as a person of impeccable character and integrity, a man of erudition and a constitutional expert.

He recalled that after Mr Sezhiyan’s defeat in the 1977 Lok Sabha election, several national leaders including the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai and External Affairs Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted him to enter the Parliament again through Rajya Sabha by getting elected from any of the northern States where the Janata Party was strong. But, Mr Sezhiyan had turned down their offer. The issue was resolved in 1978 when the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran, on the advice of Mr Desai, had agreed to extend his party’s support to Mr Sezhiyan’s election from Tamil Nadu to the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Natarajan, Editor-in-Chief of THE HINDU N. Ram and industrialist R. Veeramani recounted that in August 1989, in response to Mr Sezhiyan’s appeal, then Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and Vice-President S.D. Sharma had expunged disparaging remarks made by members in the House against the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in the light of the Bofors scandal.

The former Supreme Court Judge said this episode had demonstrated how much respect was given to Mr Sezhiyan, who was no longer a member of the Upper House then. He added that the book brought out effectively how legislative business could be carried on with dignity and decorum in spite of serious differences of opinion among members of the legislature.

The function was organised by the VIT University, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi and the Rajaji Centre for Public Affairs, Chennai.

Mr Ram, who received the first copy, said interactions with Mr Sezhiyan on a host of issues over the years were educative, enriching and productive. He was never a high-profile parliamentarian but extremely active from the start.

Referring to Mr Sezhiyan’s defence of the CAG on the Bofors deal controversy, Mr Ram said this had a contemporary relevance. The CAG, a relatively low-profile institution, had made a valuable contribution on the 2G spectrum allocation scandal. Mr Ram said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was otherwise soft spoken, had done a wrong thing by criticising the CAG.

George Matthew, Director of the Institute of Social Sciences, which had published the book, explained how Mr Sezhiyan, through an indepth study, had highlighted the constitutional impropriety inherent in the functioning of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme.

Describing Mr Sezhiyan as a wonderful activist too, Dr. Mathew said he observed Mr Sezhiyan’s organising skills during the visit of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh to Tamil Nadu in 1990 after the National Front government was unseated from power.

G. Viswanathan, VIT University Chancellor, who presided over the function, recalled the moments that he and Mr Sezhiyan spent together as Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) during 1967-1977. During those years, members rarely rushed to the well of the House or displayed unruly behaviour.

He described Mr Sezhiyan as a deep thinker and a person who expressed his views in a forthright manner.

Cho S. Ramaswamy, Editor of ‘Thuglak,’ said when Mr Sezhiyan spoke in Parliament, he was heard with rapt attention. He was respected by all members including former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. B.S. Raghavan, former civil servant, commended the Parliamentarian for raising the level of political discourse.

Mr Sezhiyan said he was trained by leaders such as C.N. Annadurai and Jayaprakash Narayan. (EOM)

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 4:40:13 PM |

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