‘Lakshman Rekha’ between judiciary & legislature must be maintained at all times, says Madras HC

The Court dismissed a plea against MLAs who had contested under symbols of other parties

The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation petition which had sought a direction to the Legislative Assembly Secretariat to treat the MLAs, who had contested on election symbols belonging to other political parties, as members of the latter parties and not as those belonging to their parent parties.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu rejected the plea after observing that it was the prerogative of the Speaker to treat the MLAs in a particular fashion inside the House and the court could not interfere in such matters. They said the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ between the legislature and the judiciary must be maintained at all times.

The judges pointed out that the litigant had complained only of an anomaly in the manner in which the MLAs were being treated inside the House and he had not complained about any illegality. They also said that there was neither any scope for judicial interference nor any public interest involved in the matter.

In his affidavit, the litigant M. Loganathan, an advocate from Coimbatore, stated that as many as eight MLAs from different parties had contested under the ‘Rising Sun’ symbol of the DMK. The litigant insisted that they should not be allotted separate seating arrangements or time slots to speak during the Assembly sessions and they must be treated only as ruling party members.

He also sought a direction to the State government to not invite those MLAs or other leaders of their parent parties in their capacity as representatives of those parties to the legislature party meetings conducted by the government to discuss important issues.

The petitioner pointed out that MLAs E.R. Easwaran, M.H. Jawahirullah, K. Chinappa, M. Boominathan, T. Velmurugan, P. Abdul Samad, T. Sadhan Tirumalai Kumar and A.R.R. Raghuraman do not belong to the DMK, yet they had contested under the ‘Rising Sun’ symbol following an alliance with that party. Similarly, M. Jagan Murthy of Puratchi Bharatham had contested under AIADMK’s ‘Two Leaves’ symbol, he said.

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