TN politicos, officials in fear as judges crack the whip

Former minister Balakrishna Reddy

Chennai: While the special court for cases against MPs, MLAs in Chennai is passing orders that have sent a chill down the spine of politicians, especially with Balakrishna Reddy losing his Minister post due to one such verdict, the Madras High Court, on the other hand, is sounding strong warning to top officials with its recent orders.

Sample these: In just 10 days, the special court has convicted two politicos – former DMK legislator M Rajkumar was handed down a 10-year jail term in a rape and murder case, while (Sports Development Minister) Balakrishna Reddy was awarded three-year prison in a 1998 case for damaging public property.

The High Court, on Monday, directed Greater Chennai Police Commissioner to arrest Tamilnadu Higher Education Secretary Mangat Ram Sharma and produce him before the court in a contempt case. The order was recalled after he tendered an unconditional apology.

Madras High Court

And, on Tuesday, the HC observed that it would be constrained to summon the Chief Secretary and ask for an action plan if the authorities were not willing to work.

Says social activist Traffic Ramaswamy, who filed a contempt of court petition Tuesday against Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, Home Secretary Niranjan Mardi, Municipal Administration Secretary Harminder Singh, Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner D Karthikeyan and Police Commissioner A K Viswanathan for non-compliance of a HC order regarding erection of flex boards in public places, “politicians and officials should understand that they are human beings. They should set an example to the public in maintaining dignity, honesty and by following court orders. Sadly, many don’t do it. The recent verdicts and directions by the courts against erring politicos and bureaucrats are welcome”.

Tamilnadu, which enjoys the dubious distinction of standing third in the country when it comes to the highest number of criminal cases involving sitting and former MLAs and MPs, is expected to witness fireworks in the political arena in the days to come, with verdicts in cases against some well-known politicians expected to be delivered.

M Bhaskar Sai