Monday, October 29, 2007

SC Slaps Notice on M Karunanidhi, Baalu

New Delhi (PTI): Virtually snubbing the Union Transport Minister T R Balu, the Supreme Court on Monday said that it was not bothered if somebody wanted to move an impeachment motion against judges accused of corruption and other irregularities.

"If they want to file impeachment motion against some judges let them do it. We are not concerned with it. We are only examining whether, they have committed contempt," the apex court observed, while issuing notices to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Union Transport Minister T R Balu and others for the October one state-wide strike on Sethusamudram controversy.

A Bench of Justices B N Aggarwal and P P Naolekar observed that in recent times remarks questioning the integrity of certain individual judges had been made but said it was not concerned with such issues and those who wanted to impeach the said judges had the liberty do so.

The court's observations on the impeachment talk came in the backdrop of Balu's reported comments on the eve of the TN strike in which he alleged prevalence of corruption among certain members of the judiciary, which according to the AIADMK counsel Guru Krishna Kumar amounted to clear contempt of court.

The apex court also asked the AIADMK counsel to submit in the court a copy of the CD purportedly showing Balu making scandalous and contemptuous remarks against the apex court.

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi landed in legal trouble on Monday after the Supreme Court slapped a contempt notice on him for defying the apex court’s directive, asking him not to go ahead with the state bandh on October 1.

The bandh call had been given by the DMK to seek speedy completion of the Sethusamudram project.

The court also issued similar contempt notices to Union Minister TR Baalu, state Chief Secretary LK Tripathi, Tamil Nadu Transport Minister KN Nehru, and Director General of Police P Rajendran.

The SC bench, comprising Justice BN Agarwal and Justice PP Naolekar, however, exempted all VIPs from a personal appearance in the court.

The court passed the order on a contempt of court petition filed by the AIADMK on October 2 after Tamil Nadu observed a near-total bandh on October 1 in defiance of the SC ruling.
Hearing on the case, the court as asked why did not they (CM and others) act to prevent the October 1 bandh even after the court’s order asking them to prevent any bandh on that day.

The defendants have four weeks to respond. However, they don’t have to be present personally during the hearings.

In its petition, the AIADMK claimed that it was blatant contempt of court. The two-member bench of Justice BN Aggarwal and Justice P Sathasivam, then, lashed out at the TN Government for observing the bandh.

“If there is no compliance with our order, it is complete breakdown of constitutional machinery. We will then have to direct the government to impose President’s Rule. If this is attitude of the DMK government, the UPA government should not feel shy of dismissing it and imposing President’s Rule,” the Bench said.

It had also said that if the Tamil Nadu Government did not comply with its order, it would not hesitate to summon the CM and the Chief Secretary.

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