DVAC has become a chameleon, takes colour of the party in power: Madras High Court

Taking suo motu revision of order favouring OPS in DA case, judge says the order has set a pattern for others to escape.
Madras High Court (File photo | EPS)
Madras High Court (File photo | EPS)

CHENNAI: Close on the heels of taking suo motu revision of the lower court orders to discharge Tamil Nadu Ministers K Ponmudi, Thangam Thennarasu and KKSSR Ramachandran from graft cases, the Madras High Court Thursday took a similar exercise to review a 2012 order to discharge former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam from a disproportionate assets (DA) case.

Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who took up the revision, compared the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) of Tamil Nadu Police to a ‘chameleon’ changing colours to dance to the tune of the party in power to save the ministers from the noose of criminal justice delivery system.

“DVAC has, unfortunately, become a chameleon. It takes the colours of the party which rules the State,” he said.

Referring to the DVAC’s tilt towards the party in power, he said there has to be ‘an independent body’ which has to ‘function away from the government’. The judge also said if such a situation is allowed it is like failing in the constitutional duty.

Criticising the way the proceedings took shape to deem the final report becoming infructuous to save OPS, the judge said it is a ‘shame on the criminal justice system’.

There is a systemic problem with the function of courts. They are not carrying on their duty the way they are expected to carry on, he said, adding, “I will definitely look cases involving MPs and MLAs.”

He characterised the 2012 order of the chief judicial magistrate court of Sivaganga to discharge OPS from the DA case as the ‘starting point’ for the ‘pattern’ to discharge other ministers from such cases.

Justice Anand Venkatesh ordered notice to the respondents including OPS and his family members and directed them to file a reply by September 27, 2023.

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