The Madras High Court Monday dismissed as “infructuous” a petition filed by an AIADMK leader seeking action on a complaint lodged against DMK chief M K Stalin for alleged violation of code of conduct. When the petition by former MLA and spokesperson of AIADMK R M Babu Murugavel came up, a division bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad recorded submissions of the standing counsel for Election Commission and said, “As complaint has been acted upon writ petition has become infructuous and hence dismissed.”
Niranjan Rajagopalan, standing counsel for the EC, submitted that the complaint sent by the petitioner has been acted on. He further said that based on the direction of the chief electoral officer issued on March 26, the electoral officer of Thiruvarur district has been directed to send the action taken report to the CEO’s office.
A notice has been served on Saptharishi of DMK Mavatta Manavargal Iyakkam seeking explanation. The petitioner submitted that the code of conduct prohibits making false statements by any candidate or any other person in public domain.
This apart, the ECI from time to time has issued general advisory instructing the candidates to maintain high standard during election campaigns, he noted. He alleged that Stalin and the DMK with an intention to cause disrepute, to defame, and damage the name and reputation of Chief Minister K Palaniswami has been circulating video clips, making allegations linking the chief minister to the Kodanad Estate murder and robbery case.
According to Babu, the chief minister has moved a civil suit in the high court in connection with the issue and has obtained an injunction against certain people from making such statements. When the interim injunction was still operative, the DMK and its leaders were making such wild allegations against the chief minister in most of its election campaigns “which are per se defamatory and scandalous”, he submitted.
Babu said he had filed a complaint with the chief electoral officer on March 22, seeking action against the DMK and Stalin for “violating” the code of conduct but there has been no response. As polling is scheduled on April 18, the petitioner submitted that he is constrained to approach the court for relief.
In April 2017, a security guard at the Kodanad estate, former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s retreat-home in the hilly district of Nilgiris, was found dead. Ten people were arrested in connection with the robbery attempt at the estate-bungalow which was used by Jayalalithaa for both official and residential purpose.