Tamil Nadu

HC judge puzzled over Election Commissioner’s peculiar signature

A view of the signature affixed by Puducherry State Election Commissioner Roy P. Thomas in a counter affidavit filed before the Madras High Court.

A view of the signature affixed by Puducherry State Election Commissioner Roy P. Thomas in a counter affidavit filed before the Madras High Court.

“Is this a signature? Are you serious?”, exclaimed Justice M. Duraiswamy of the Madras High Court on Wednesday while expressing surprise over Puducherry State Election Commissioner (SEC) Roy P. Thomas using a cross mark for his signature.

The signature of the retired Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer became a topic of discussion during the hearing of a writ petition, filed against conduct of local bodies polls in the Union Territory without reserving seats for Other Backward Class and Scheduled Tribe candidates.

When the case was taken up by the second Division Bench of Mr. Justice Duraiswamy and Sunder Mohan, advocate V. Chandrasekharan told the court that the SEC had already filed a counter affidavit stating that the law, as it stands today, did not mandate reservation of seats for OBCs and STs.

However, after perusing the counter affidavit, Justice Duraiswamy said that it had not been signed by the commissioner. He pointed out that only a cross mark on places where the officer was supposed to sign had been indicated on every page of the affidavit, and he had not signed in any of those pages.

To the judge’s surprise, the counsel replied that the cross mark was actually the signature of the commissioner. “Even in the affidavits filed in the Supreme Court, he had signed this way. I told him many times to change his signature but he continues to sign like this,” he added. Accepting the answer with a grin, the judge directed the Government of Puducherry to file its counter affidavit by June 21.

Earlier, senior counsel P. Wilson, representing the Leader of the Opposition, R. Siva, of the DMK, wondered why was the SEC exhibiting great urgency in conducting the polls without reserving seats for OBCs and STs. “Let them follow their anti-social justice practices elsewhere, not in this soil,” the senior counsel said.

However, Mr. Chandrasekharan told the court that the SEC was not against reservation of seats per se and was only worried over the continuous delay in conducting the local bodies polls, due since 2011.


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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 12:05:37 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-judge-puzzled-over-election-commissioners-peculiar-signature/article65607018.ece