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TN governor Purohit to continue district visits despite Stalin’s opposition

The Raj Bhavan reminded the DMK working president that the governor was protected under Section 124 of the IPC, and warned him against pursuing ‘violative actions’.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2018 14:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Banwarilal Purohit,Tamil Nadu governor,DMK
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president MK Stalin takes out a protest against Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit’s district visits in Chennai on Saturday.(PTI photo)

A day after DMK working president MK Stalin demanded Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit’s resignation over his alleged attempts to undermine the state’s autonomy through “district visits”, the Raj Bhavan stated on Monday that he will continue to tour the state in the interests of its people.

“The governor will continue these visits in the coming months for the sake of the common people, who are benefiting from them,” read a statement issued by the joint director of public relations, Raj Bhavan.

It also stated that the governor – in his capacity as the head of executive of the state – enjoys “unhindered freedom to interact with officials of the state who are members of the executive wing”, and accused Stalin of misleading the public through the use of the word “review”.

“A report has appeared in the press that the leader of the opposition (Stalin) sought to lay siege to the Raj Bhavan to protest against the governor’s district visits. He is either ignorant of the law or is attempting to overawe by threatening to besiege Raj Bhavan or block the roads leading to it. The office of the governor is protected under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Therefore, any attempt to overawe, assault or use criminal force in this regard will be dealt with as per law,” the statement warned.

The governor’s office also pointed out that Purohit had tried to engage with Stalin and other members of the opposition by inviting them to the Raj Bhavan when the district visits were first undertaken. Furthermore, the governor was not critical of any government official during his visits, it added.

“Sufficient time was given for understanding the law, so as to change course and abide by it. Those who do not understand the correct legal position or do not wish to abide by the law should desist from making comments or pursuing violative actions,” the statement read.

Stalin responded by stating that the DMK cannot be threatened with Section 124 of the IPC. “The governor should first go through Section 163 of the Indian constitution and various judgments of the Supreme Court, which explain the capacity and powers of the governor,” he said.

The DMK leader also asserted that his party will continue to protest if the governor undertakes further visits to the districts. “Unlike the ruling AIADMK, which does not oppose the governor’s visits, the DMK will continue to protest it,” he said.

The office of the governor is protected under Section 124 of the IPC, which reads: “Whoever, with the intention of inducing or compelling the President of India, or the governor of any state, to exercise or refrain from exercising in any manner any of the lawful powers of such President or governor, assaults or wrongfully restrains, or attempts wrongfully to restrain, or overawes, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, or attempts so to overawe, such President or governor, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

First Published: Jun 26, 2018 14:03 IST