CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has recalled the notice it had issued to the governor's office on a petition challenging the appointment of K Srinivasan as the Tamil Nadu Assembly Secretary.
Justice T Raja recalled the notice yesterday after the advocate general pointed out that under Article 361 of the Constitution, the governor was not answerable to the court.
Raja also ordered deletion of the secretary to the governor and assembly speaker from the list of respondents.
The judge passed the order after hearing the arguments of Advocate General Vijay Narayan that the governor enjoys protection under Article 361, issuing notice to the Governor was barred and he was not answerable to the court.
Justice Raja, however, directed the advocate general to address the question as to whom a mandamus (direction) can be issued, in case the petitions challenging the appointment are allowed and posted the matter for further hearing to March 21.
The matter relates to the petitions filed by L S Vasanthimalar and B Subramaniyam, Additional Secretary and Joint Secretary respectively of the Assembly, who sought to quash the orders appointing Srinivasan as 'Special Secretary' and subsequently Secretary of the Assembly.
P Wilson, who appeared on behalf of the petitioners, submitted that since the governor was the appointing authority for the post of secretary in the general administrative wing, notice has to be issued to the governor's secretary and the governor cannot claim complete immunity under Article 361.
He also contended that Srinivasan serving in the reporting wing had been wrongly given the post of secretary in the general administrative wing.
The post of secretary was going to be given to an ineligible person so notice can be issued to the secretary to Governor, Wilson submitted.
Opposing Wilson's argument and citing judgements of the Supreme Court, the Advocate General submitted that when the governor is exercising his powers under the Constitution or statute, he enjoys constitutional protection under Article 361 and there is a complete bar on issuing a notice to the governor and he was not answerable to the court.
The Judge said, "I agree with the submissions made by Advocate General" and ordered the deletion of Secretary to Governor and Speaker, cited as party respondents from the petitions.