HC declines to grant more time to Karunanidhi counsel

By PTI Published on Aug 03, 2018 01:21 PM IST

Chennai: The Madras High Court today declined to accede a plea of DMK  president M Karunanidhi's counsel that he needed time to present arguments  over vacating the stay on a probe panel looking into "illegalities" in the construction of a new secretariat during the DMK rule in 2010.

Justice S M Subramaniam, before whom a memo was filed by counsel R Neelakandan citing Karunanidhi's hospitalisation and seeking more time to get instructions for making arguments, said he would begin the final hearing on the petition tomorrow.

"Everybody prays for everybody's well-being. We respect everyone, but the court should continue performing its duties," the judge said.

Referring to a Supreme Court direction in various cases, the judge said the apex court had strongly ruled against "forum hunting" and made it clear that he would take up the case for final hearing tomorrow even if the counsel for the petitioner was not willing to argue the case.

To this, the petitioner's counsel asserted that they had no intention to stall the proceedings in any manner. "You have already enjoyed the interim stay against the commission for over three years. Huge public money is being

spent on the commission. Therefore, this court has to take care of the public issue involved," the judge added.

94-year-old Karunanidhi was admitted to private Kauvery Hospital here 28 July after his blood pressure dropped. His condition has been stated to be stable now. Karunanidhi's counsel also contended that Justice

Subramaniam's court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the

petition.

But the judge rejected this argument, saying he could  very well decide on the miscellaneous petition moved by the state seeking to vacate the stay. Justice Raghupathy Commission was constituted to go into the reported illegalities in the construction of new secretariat-cum-assembly complex, a dream project of Karunanidhi.

The high court had granted a stay on the functioning of the commission in March 2015. In response to a query by the judge, the Tamilnadu government had yesterday submitted that all five inquiry commissions headed by various retired high court judges, including Justice Raghupathy, were in existence and had given the break up of funds allocated to them so far.

Following this, the judge had found fault with the government on spending crores of public money on the defunct Raghupathy Commission.