HC upholds nomination of three BJP members in Puducherry Assembly

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Chennai, Jun 2 (PTI) The Madras High Court on Wednesday upheld the nomination of three BJP MLAs to the Puducherry Assembly, with a bench finding no merit in a petition against their appointment.

Justices Anita Sumanth and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy upheld the May 2021 notifications of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Puducherry Chief Secretary nominating K Venkatesan, V P Ramalingam and R B Ashok as members of the territorial assembly.

'On all fronts, we find no merit in this writ petition,' the bench said and dismissed it.

The public interest writ petition was filed by G A Jegannathan, former president of Karikalampakkam village, seeking quashing of the notification dated May 10.

'At the risk of repetition, we may state that the only grievance of the petitioner appears to be that the nominees are members of the BJP. This can hardly be a relevant consideration,' the judges said.

The AINRC-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), of which the BJP is a part, had won the April 6 Assembly polls in the union territory, securing majority in the 30-member House.

With the nominated members, the strength goes up to 33.

Among other things, the petitioner contended that the three BJP candidates were not suitable for the post and found fault with the timing of their nomination.

Turning it down, the bench observed that unless the allegation of unsuitability goes to the very fundamentals of the matter and the candidate nominated is shown to be ex-facie and patently unsuitable, such that his/her nomination would rebel against one's conscience, the question of the court reviewing their suitability does not arise.

The term 'suitability' is difficult of precise definition and there is an element of subjectivity that is involved in assessing the same.

In the present case, the bench pointed out, the nominees admittedly do not attract the specific statutory disqualifications and their alleged unsuitability is in general and non-specific terms.

Undue haste has been ascribed to the nomination, seeing as the Chief Minister N Rangasamy had tested positive for Covid-19 and had been admitted in the hospital and the Legislative Assembly and cabinet had not been sworn in/constituted at the time when the nominations were made.

This contention is more a challenge to the propriety rather than one of law, the judges said.

'In law, we do not find any specification in the statute stipulating the timing of the nomination and the candidates, once nominated, would take their seats in the Legislative Assembly as and when the Assembly is sworn-in.

'On all fronts, therefore, we find no merit in this writ petition and dismiss the same,' the bench said. PTI CORR SA BN BALA BN BALA

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