The Supreme Court on Monday threatened to issue arrest warrants against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and Union Shipping Minister TR Baalu for undue delay in filing their replies to its contempt notice in connection with the October 1, 2007 Tamil Nadu Bandh in support of the Sethusamudram Project.
“The CM is not above the law,” a Bench headed by Justice BN Agrawal said taking strong exception to the attitude of the contemnors in delaying their response to the notices issued on October 29, 2007.
“If this is your attitude, then let the chief minister and others appear. We will issue warrants of arrest. This is detestable,” the judges said.
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa accusing Karunanidhi, Baalu, Tamil Nadu Transport Minister KK Nehru, state chief secretary, transport secretary and director general of police of violating the court’s orders.
In a rare sitting on Sunday, the court had on September 30, 2007 restrained the Tamil Nadu government from going ahead with the October 1, 2007 state-sponsored bandh for early implementation of the project. The court had then threatened to recommend imposition of President’s Rule in the state leading to a confrontation between the judiciary and the executive.
What angered the court was the fact that the contemnors had not filed their responses for a year despite repeatedly seeking time. The court granted four weeks to the contemnors to explain the delay.