PIL in Madras High Court questions Senthilbalaji’s continuation in Tamil Nadu Cabinet

Litigant M.L. Ravi of Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi urges the High Court to quash a press release issued by the Director of Information and Public Relations stating that he would continue as a Minister without portfolio despite being in judicial custody

Updated - June 19, 2023 05:49 pm IST

Published - June 19, 2023 05:30 pm IST - CHENNAI

V. Senthilbalaji. File

V. Senthilbalaji. File | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

A public interest litigation petition (PIL) has been filed in the Madras High Court questioning the propriety of allowing V. Senthilbalaji, arrested by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on June 14 in a money laundering case, to continue in the Cabinet as a Minister without portfolio despite him being in judicial custody.

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Advocate M.L. Ravi of Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi has filed the case urging the court to quash a press release issued by Director of Information and Public Relations on June 16 stating that he would continue to be a Minister though the portfolios of Electricity, Prohibition and Excise held by him had been reallocated to two other sitting Ministers.

The petitioner pointed out that the DIPR press release was issued within hours after the Raj Bhavan issued a press communique clarifying that the Governor R.N. Ravi was agreeable to divest Senthilbalaji of his portfolios and hand them over to other Ministers but he was not in favour of the continuation of the arrested Minister in the Cabinet.

Since Article 164 of the Constitution clearly states that the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor, the petitioner wondered how could the government go against the will of the Governor and allow a person in judicial custody to remain in the Cabinet. Such continuation is “unjust and unwarranted,” the litigant said.

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