DMK demands recall of T.N. Governor for refusing to administer oath to ex-Minister K. Ponmudy

DMK Rajya Sabha MP P. Wilson, in a social media post, said the Governor’s refusal to accede to the CM’s request even after the Supreme Court stayed Mr. Ponmudy’s conviction, amounted to “subversion of the rule of law” and was a “clear act of contempt of Court”

Updated - March 18, 2024 05:19 pm IST

Published - March 18, 2024 04:49 pm IST - CHENNAI

Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi. File

Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi. File | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

The DMK has urged the President to recall Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi for refusing to re-induct former Minister K. Ponmudy into the State Cabinet. The party said the Governor had no regard for the Constitution, for the laws, for the orders of the Supreme Court and hence needed to be “sacked” forthwith. It said the Governor’s interpretation of the apex court order was absurd, and was an affront to the order.

It may be recalled that Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had written to Mr. Ravi seeking the administering of the oath of office to Mr Ponmudy. Mr. Ponmudy, former Higher Education Minister was disqualified as an MLA after the Madras High Court sentenced him to three years in jail in a disproportionate assets case in December last year. The Supreme Court stayed his conviction and sentence on Monday, March 11, 2024.

In a social media post, DMK Rajya Sabha MP P. Wilson, wrote about the Governor refusing to appoint DMK leader K. Ponmudy as a Minister, despite his being reinstated as a legislator in the light of the Supreme Court’s interim injunction. The Governor’s refusal to accede to the CM’s request amounted to “subversion of the rule of law” and violation of Article 164 (1) of the Constitution, Mr. Wilson contended. This was a “clear act of contempt of Court since the Court suspended the conviction for the sole reason that it should not operate as a disqualification.”

When the conviction order of the High Court was suspended by the Supreme Court , it meant that the “order is non-existent in the eyes of law”, Mr Wilson contended and added that the Governor’s interpretation “cannot be a mere ignorance of law but wilful and wanton violation of the order of the SC for which the Governor must be prosecuted for contempt.”

As for the Governor’s observation that Mr. Ponmudy’s conviction in a disproportionate assets case has only been “suspended, not set aside”, Mr. Wilson argued: “This is an absurd interpretation and is an affront to the Supreme Court’s order. The Governor is bound by the orders of the Supreme Court of India under Article 142 & 144 of the Constitution.”

 “When he [Governor] has stooped to the levels of wilfully violating orders of the Supreme Court of India, desecrating the Constitutional provisions, and ignoring the rule of law, he is not fit to hold the post any longer,” Mr. Wilson said. The Governor was proving to be a “repeat offender” and was acting with “scant regard to the Constitution”, he alleged.

It was well settled that a Governor cannot decide to as who should be a Minister on moral grounds or any other grounds, Mr. Wilson said and pointed out that this sole prerogative lay with the Chief Minister of a State.

“The Governor’s confrontation with the Government is unsurprising since he is acting as the de facto President of the T.N.’s BJP unit and has a proclivity to seek media attention, but by his current action he has committed gross constitutional impropriety and contempt of Court. He is seeking to run a parallel government from the Raj Bhavan because the BJP can never set foot in Fort St. George,” Mr. Wilson added.

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