Are you above the law? SC asks Baalu
The SC threatened to issue arrest warrants against TN CM M Karunanidhi and Union Shipping Minister TR Baalu in delaying their response to the notices issued on October 29, 2007, reprots Satya Prakash.Updated: Aug 04, 2008 23:39 IST
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 Chief Minister 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.
"Just because you (Baalu) are a central minister you don't have the time to file the reply and you can dictate terms." If this is your (contemnors') attitude, then let the Chief Minister and others appear. We will issue arrest warrants," the bench said. "Are you above the Supreme Court?" it asked.
Terming the contemnors' conduct as 'detestable,' the Bench wondered if "something like this should happen in the court?"
The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa accusing Karunanidhi, Baalu, state 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 following day, the AIADMK filed a petition before the court seeking contempt action against them. 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 that the contemnors had not filed their responses for almost a year despite repeatedly seeking time. Baalu, Nehru and Transport Secretary Debendranath Sarangi again sought time to file their replies. The court noted that it gave four weeks to them on March 31.
While Baalu has not filed his response, Karunanidhi's counsel said the CM would ‘adopt’ the affidavit filed by state Chief Secretary LK Tripathy. In an affidavit filed on July 31 the Chief Secretary and state DGP P Rajendran said they had taken the necessary steps to ensure that life was not crippled. The court granted four weeks to Karunanidhi, Baalu, Nehru, state Chief Secretary, Transport Secretary and the DGP to explain the delay.