The Madras High Court on Thursday held as not maintainable a writ of quo warranto filed against Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi questioning the authority under which he is holding the office while simultaneously serving as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of Auroville Foundation in Puducherry.
First Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice T. Raja and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy held that a writ petition against the Governor could not be entertained in view of the immunity enjoyed under Article 361 of the Constitution. They refused to direct the High Court Registry to number the writ petition.
M. Kannadasan of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) had filed the writ petition contending that the post held by the Governor in the Auroville Foundation was an office of profit since it provides for payment of salary and other allowances apart from leave, pension and so on.
In an affidavit, filed through his counsel S. Doraisamy and V. Elangovan, he said, Article 158(2) of the Constitution prohibits Governors from holding any other office of profit and therefore Mr. Ravi must be called upon to explain the authority under which he was holding the office of Governor dehors the Auroville appointment.
However, the Registry refused to number the writ petition and listed it before the Division Bench for deciding its maintainability. The Bench heard the arguments advanced by the petitioner’s counsel last month both on maintainability and merits and reserved orders on December 15.
While arguing, Mr. Doraisamy had said, the President had issued a warrant on September 9, 2021, appointing Mr. Ravi as the Governor of Tamil Nadu and that the latter assumed office on September 18, 2021. In October 2021, the Union Ministry of Education appointed him as Chairman of the Governing Board of Auroville Foundation.
Section 13 of the Auroville Foundation Act of 1988 states that the Chairman of the Governing Board would be entitled to salary, allowances, and such conditions of service in respect of leave, pension, provident fund, and so on as fixed by the Centre from time to time. “Therefore, the post of chairman of the foundation is an office of profit,” the counsel contended.