Madras high court
on Tuesday left it to the wisdom of Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin to take a call on the continuance of arrested minister
V Senthil Balaji
in the state cabinet.
However, the first bench of
Chief Justice Sanjay Vijaykumar Gangapurwala
P D Audikesavalu
observed that Senthil Balaji’s continuance does not augur well with the purity of the administration.
The court passed the order while disposing of a batch of pleas challenging the minister’s continuance in the cabinet without any portfolio.
According to the petitioners, the high court under Article 226 of the Constitution has power to declare a person unfit to hold a post.
“When a person becomes disgrace to a post, the court can very well declare him unfit to the post. While the chief minister was right in removing Senthil Balaji’s portfolios after his arrest, he erred in allowing him to continue as a minister,” they added.
Opposing the pleas, the Tamil Nadu government argued that unless a person was convicted for an offence, he or she was not disqualified from holding the post of a minister.
“A governor can act only on the advice of the state cabinet. He cannot conduct a parallel administration against the state government,” the state said.
It added that a person could not be disqualified from holding the post for the sake of registration of an FIR.
Senthil Balaji was arrested by the Enforcement Department (ED) on June 14 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He is currently in judicial custody in Puzhal Central Prison hospital.