Home india-news SC criticises TN Guv for refusing to swear-in minister after stay on conviction | Latest News India

SC criticises TN Guv for refusing to swear-in minister after stay on conviction | Latest News India

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SC criticises TN Guv for refusing to swear-in minister after stay on conviction | Latest News India

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The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed concerns over the conduct of Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi for defying the apex court order to reinduct K Ponmudi as a minster in the state cabinet after his conviction in a corruption case was stayed by the top court on March 11.

The governor has refused to reinstate the former higher education minister into the state cabinet. (Representative file photo)
The governor has refused to reinstate the former higher education minister into the state cabinet. (Representative file photo)

SC gave a day’s time to the governor to set right his “constitutionally illegal conduct” or face an order from Court asking him to follow the Constitution.

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A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said, “We are seriously concerned about the conduct of the Governor. He is defying the Supreme Court of India. Are we governed by rule of law. When the Supreme Court stays conviction, the Governor has no business to say that the conviction is not wiped out. We are deeply concerned on who has advised him and the manner in which this matter has proceeded.”

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Attorney General R Venkataramani appearing for the governor sought time to take instructions.

He objected to how the state government raised the issue about the swearing-in of a minister in a pending matter where the state challenged the Governor’s action to delay clearance of pending legislative bills.

The Court told AG, “Can the Governor say I will defend my constitutionally illegal conduct by pointing fingers at the state for moving an application. Do we close our eyes to the constitutional breach by the Governor on this technical issue… What do the states do if the Governor does not follow the Constitution. They have to approach this Court.”

Posting the matter for Friday, the bench observed, “We will keep it tomorrow otherwise… if we don’t hear in a positive manner from you, we will have to pass an order asking the Governor to follow the Constitution. We don’t want to do that as we want the Governor to set it right.”

The state had moved an application in its pending petition on Monday attaching the response of the Governor of March 17 refusing to accept the recommendation of chief minister MK Stalin to re-induct Ponmudi as higher education minister.

Despite a two-judge bench of the top court on March 11 staying the conviction to prevent “irreversible consequences”, the Governor said that his conviction has only been “set aside” and re-inducting him who is tainted with corruption will be against “constitutional morality”.

The bench, also comprising justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said, “How can the Governor say that after the SC stayed the conviction, his re-induction will be against constitutional morality.”

Referring to a past judgment by the top court on what “stay of conviction” means, the bench said, “Once substantive order of conviction is suspended by this Court, there is no conviction that exists. You can’t say then that he is tainted.”

Ponmudi stood disqualified on December 21, 2023, when the Madras high court convicted and sentenced him to three years imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case, setting aside his acquittal given earlier by a trial court.

Acting on his petition against HC order, the top court on March 11 suspended the conviction order, thus removing the bar existing on him under the Representation of Peoples Act to continue in office.

The FIR against Ponmudi and his wife was registered in 2011 on the allegation that during his tenure as minister of mines and higher education in the state between 2006 to 2010, he acquired assets that were nearly 66% more than his known sources of income.


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