Tamil Nadu Crisis after Jayalalitha’s Death Is but Straightforward

Tamil Nadu Crisis after Jayalalitha's Death

Comments Dt. 09.02.2017

1. Sasikala has been elected as the legislative party leader, and her election has not been challenged in court. So, that makes her the claimant for the CM post irrespective of the MLA support; however, that is subject to the resignation of OPS. OPS claims his resignation was non-est/voidable as given under duress. Of course, the onus of proving duress lies on OPS. Post 7.30 pm, we will know how much the Governor has been convinced by the witness of OPS. In any case, a Quo Warranto petition will follow, because, Sasikala or OPS, both can be challenged as CMs irrespective of the decision of the governor, for the legal authority finally lies with the courts. 

2. As being reported by media channels, the judgment in Jayalalitha’s case is not being listed tomorrow. So, there is hardly any move left with OPS now, for proving duress is very, very difficult, and the Governor can’t delay decision beyond tomorrow — already, he has delayed it a lot.

Comments Dt. 10.02.2017

1. The TN governor has exposed himself by seeking verification of the signatures of the MLAs. As per media reports, OPS only claimed that his resignation was under duress. He has neither claimed to have split away from the party nor has he claimed expulsion of Sasikala from the party. Thus, Sasikala remains legislative party leader. Then why does she have to prove MLA support? I believe the election of legislative party leader in AIADMK  is by simple majority or at the most by 2/3rd majority. Does this mean that every time a party leader makes a claim for the top post before the governor, he has to parade all the party MLAs before him? Media always fail to understand the legal nuances, and the governor of TN has taken advantage of this situation by substituting political maneuvering for legal adjudication. It is setting a very bad precedence. I think the governor has exceeded his brief.

2. News channels are reporting that the governor has prepared an internal note, as per which the status quo shall be maintained till the SC announces its judgement in the Jayalalitha’s case. If the news channels are reporting it correctly, this is a serious issue of colorable exercise of power or probably even of the misappropriation of power — though I am amazed with the resourcefulness of Indian media, who can even retrieve a secret official document from the office of governor; even intelligence officer can’t do that unless the governor himself hands over the note to the intelligence officers, all of whom report to him.

Anyways, first the decision of the SC is also subject to review if advised; so, there is no reason for the governor to wait for the SC judgment. Secondly, the SC in its wisdom has declined urgent hearing in a PIL filed precisely for maintaining the very same status quo. Thirdly, the HC had acquitted Sasikala; so, the prima face case as well as the balance of convenience lies in the favour of Sasikala. Fourthly, there is no boundation on the SC to announce its judgment in a fixed time frame: it can announce the judgment next week or even later; how long will the status quo be maintained! Fifthly, the question before the governor that whether the incumbent CM’s resignation is valid or not has not been answered by the governor, which was his first duty to answer. Sixthly, the approach adopted by the governor clearly propagates horse trading. Seventhly, the view being taken by the governor is prima facie biased against Sasikala, who is the legislative party leader of the biggest party in the assembly; this is not only unconstitutional but also a sort of a coup.

Of course, the center is involved in it, not only the BJP but also the Congress: they are acting in tandem to mar the emergence of a strong independent regional leader. This is the politics at play at its dirtiest.

Disclaimer: I think the sudden death of Jayalalitha was not natural, and an expedient judicial probe is required in it looking into the role both of the centre and the State government (including the office of governor) and also that of Sasikala and the AIADMK party. And I won’t mind the maintenance of status quo till the probe has been completed, and that is only because I just don’t know who should rule when all are under the circle of suspicion.

Comments Dt. 13.02.2017

I generally wouldn’t comment on the professional conduct of senior advocates, but the advice the former AG, Soli Sorabjee, has given to the governor in reference to Sasikala is beyond comprehension. He has advised the governor to hold back the swearing-in till the judgment is announced by the SC in Jayalalitha’s case. This is a completely perverse opinion. He has advised the governor, a constitutional body, to wait in anticipation of a hypothetical judicial event; i.e., conviction of Sasikala. I wonder under what authority can the governor do that. He has a responsibility to swear in the leader of the legislative party with highest number of legislators. Who else has made a claim to form the government except Sasikala? Has OPS made a claim with a list of legislators? Of course not. Has Stalin made any claim? I don’t think so. He met the Governor just to request for a stable government. Now let us assume Sasikala is convicted and is disqualified; does that stop her from filing a review petition and obtaining the suspension of judgment therein? Of course, not. So, is the governor taking away that right of hers in capacity of a CM? Of course, yes. What gives him the power to infringe the right of a litigant? Not the constitution for sure. Now let us assume she fails to get the desired relief. Does that make her government unstable? Of course, not. There would be a replacement CM in a jiffy — actually, technically speaking, since she is not an MLA; she can retain the CMship for six month; this is a loophole which the SC didn’t think of while passing the judgment in re: disqualification of MLAs/MPs. But now when she is not made the CM and is also convicted by the SC, will that not break away the AIADMK party in favour of OPS! So, this way isn’t the governor amplifying the unimportant event of conviction of Sasikala into the complete annihilation of the ideology followed by Sasikala and her supporters! What the Governor has done is not only unconstitutional but also offensive, and the former AG is partially responsible for it. I don’t think his advice was b………

Comment Dt. 14.02.2017

So, the BJP has finally made backdoor entry in TN through OPS courtesy the SC judgment. AIADMK is now BJP.

Comment Dt. 15.02.2017

It is being suggested that a composite floor test a la Jagdambika Pal case may be conducted in the TN assembly. I don’t understand how Jagdambika Pal applies in the facts of the TN crisis. The DMK has not even once staked claim to form the government and they have 89 MLAs, so why then the composite floor test? Is it being suggested that, between OPS and Palanisamy, whoever gets more support in the house should form the government?

Since the advice has come from the highest quarters, let us assume its validity and also assume further that OPS and Palanisamy have comparable support. Even then the composite floor test is not made out unless the DMK declare upfront that they will walk out in the composite floor test.

Or is it now being suggested that it would be a three-way composite floor test, and whoever amongst Stalin, OPS and Panilasamy gets the higher support will become the CM? I would suggest some more names: Deepa Jayakumar, Sasikala Pushpa, D. Raja. And since all are invited, let’s have the composite candidature of Kamal Haasan and Gautami Thadimalla (assuming they have reunited on Valentine’s Day) And to bring some more entertainment, let’s have Rajnikant too. And if that’s not enough, we will also have Modi…Modi,…Sachin…Sachin,…Obama…Obama…(given he is relatively free these days). Was that a joke???

Comment Dt. 18.02.2017

Secret Ballot is a fantastic concept. Indeed, I fully support it but as a permanent measure, not as an ad-hoc event: all confidence motions, finance bills, private member bills, and whatever else, should be secret ballot votes. But this will never happen in the assemblies and the parliament because secret ballot is inversely proportional to the existence of the political parties. Indeed, the people representatives should be independent, but will the Anti-Defection Law ever allow it. Why such a regressive provision was ever allowed to be included in the Constitution? To start with, why not carry out a secret ballot on quashing the Anti-Defection Law itself!

Copyright 2017 Ankur Mutreja

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Ankur Mutreja
Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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