Onkar Singh in New Delhi
The Supreme court on Monday directed that the writ petitions filed against the appointment of J Jayalalitha as chief minister of Tamil Nadu be referred to a larger bench.
The two-judge vacation bench comprising Justices Doraiswamy Raju and Syed Shan Mohammad Quadri, which heard the petitioners for 90 minutes, said that since the issues involved were important constitutional matters, they were referring the case back to Chief Justice A S Anand to send it to a larger bench.
The judges also issued notice to Attorney General Soli Sorabjee on the matter.
Six petitioners -- B R Kapoor and Chander Shekhar Ashri (who moved separate petitions, but jointly), Pratap Singh Chautala, B L Wadhera, Manohar Lal Sharma and Dhananjay Chauhan -- contended that Jayalalitha's appointment was constitutionally incorrect as she had been disqualified from contesting elections under the Representation of the People's Act. The petitions were moved under Article 32 of the Constitution.
Arguing the case on behalf of his father B R Kapoor, advocate R K Kapoor asked the court to strike down Jayalalitha's appointment as chief minister.
The petitioners had to answer many uncomfortable questions from the two judges. At one stage Justice Quadri asked what their locus standi in the matter was. "Let the people of Tamil Nadu decide the issue," he remarked. The bench also asked the petitioners why they had moved the apex court when the matter was already pending in the Madras high court.
But Justice Raju felt the petitioners had raised important matters and so the petitions should be heard.
After hearing the petitioners, the judges felt that it was a fit case to be referred to a larger bench.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly Election 2001
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