SC questions suo motu powers of Madras HC in corruption cases against TN ministers

The Court wanted to know if the single judge who initiated the proceeding had the approval of Madras HC Chief Justice.
Image used for representational purposes.
Image used for representational purposes.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court in its order recently, questioned the powers of a Madras High Court judge in initiating suo motu proceedings to restore a series of corruption cases against sitting Tamil Nadu Ministers.

In this regard, the Apex Court division bench, headed by Justice Hrishikesh Roy and also comprising Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra asked the Madras High Court Registrar General to file a detailed response on the issue by February 5.

The Top Court also wanted to know from the Madras HC registry as to whether prior approval of the High Court's Chief Justice was obtained before exercising such suo motu jurisdiction.

The Apex Court asked the HC registry to apprise it as to what is the jurisdiction of the single-judge of the Madras HC, Justice N Anand Venkatesh, who had passed a series of suo motu revision orders to restore corruption cases.

It is to be noted that Justice Venkatesh of the Madras HC, in a series of orders, had initiated suo motu powers against six sitting ministers, including DMK Ministers Sattur Ramachandran and Thangam Thennarasu.

The Apex Court was yesterday hearing an appeal filed by Ramachandran, challenging the Madras HC's suo motu proceedings against his and Thennarasu's discharge by the trial courts in alleged Disproportionate Assets (DA) cases.

The two ministers were charged with amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income, during the period of their tenure from 2006 to 2011, when they served as ministers in the M.Karunanidhi government.

The Virudhunagar principal district court (Special Court) had last year in July acquitted three people, including minister Ramachandran, his wife Aadhilakshmi, and Thennarasu in a DA case registered against them in 2011.

But one month later, the Madras HC judge Justice Venkatesh initiated a suo motu revision against Ramachandran, and Thennarasu regarding the DA cases against them.

In August last year, Justice Venkatesh had passed individual orders against the two -- Ramachandran and Thennarasu -- detailing the reasons for the revision. The justice also issued notices to the accused, as well as, the prosecution.

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