Chief Secretary can write an epilogue to Governor’s order, says Speaker Appavu

Published - June 30, 2023 01:03 am IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Speaker M. Appavu said on Thursday that the Chief Secretary of the State could write an epilogue to Governor R.N. Ravi’s notification dismissing V. Senthilbalaji from the Cabinet just by “issuing a direction that there is no need to implement it since it is against the law”.

“Under the Constitution, the Governor has the powers to appoint the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers, and he is vested with no powers to remove them,” he told The Hindu.

The Speaker contended that the Chief Secretary has the powers to execute any order issued by the Governor through the Public Department. “It is an established practice. Now, the Governor has issued an order for the dismissal of Mr. Senthilbalaji. The Chief Secretary can put an end to his act by rejecting the notification because it is against the law,” he argued.

Mr. Appavu said, “If one goes by the decision of Mr. Ravi, the President can remove the Prime Minister and other Union Ministers from office. But the Constitution does not permit it. It was clearly explained by the Supreme Court judgment in the S.R. Bommai case.”

Accusing the Governor of acting against the Constitution after taking oath in the name of it, Mr. Appavu said the Governor was speaking against secularism, though the Constitution asserts that India is a secular nation.

To drive home the point that only the Speaker of the Assembly or the Lok Sabha has the powers to dismiss their members, Mr. Appavu pointed to the dismissal of DMK MLAs, including late K. Anbazhagan, by the then Speaker, P.H. Pandian, for burning the copies of the Constitution. “He justified his decision by saying that they had taken oath in the name of the Constitution,” he further said.

Mr. Appavu said action could be taken against a member of the House only if he was convicted in a court of law. “You should keep in mind that Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla disqualified Congress leader Rahul Gandhi only after he was found guilty and sentenced to two years in jail by a Surat court in a defamation case. Indian democracy is sustained by the Constitution and not by sanatana dharma,” he said.

He alleged that the Governor’s notification was “ridiculous and childish”. “It is strange and ridiculous that he [the Governor] is being used by the Centre,” he said.

VCK raises doubts

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi president Thol. Thirumavalavan condemned the Governor’s decision. He raised doubts as to whether the Governor was acting without knowing the limits of his powers or to create “political confusion” in the State.

BJP Mahila Morcha president and MLA Vanathi Srinivasan said that though a “plain reading” of the Constitution may give an impression that the Chief Minister has the powers to appoint Ministers, the Governor’s action was justifiable to the extent that it would ensure a fair investigation into the cases against Mr. Senthilbalaji.

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