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The Hindu
The Hindu
Dennis S. Jesudasan

Letter from O. Panneerselvam under consideration: Speaker

Former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam has submitted a representation to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Speaker not to disturb the composition of the AIADMK Legislature Party, on the basis of any communication he may receive from anyone.

Mr. Panneerselvam and two other legislators R.Vaithilingam and P.H. Manoj Pandian were on July 11 expelled from the AIADMK by its general council. Mr. Panneerselvam has challenged the validity of the general council meeting in the court and before the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Addressing journalists in the Secretariat-cum-Assembly complex in Fort St. George campus, Speaker M. Appavu acknowledged receipt of “a plea” from Mr. Panneerselvam on Tuesday. Without revealing the content of the plea, he said, “It is under my consideration. No decision has been taken as yet.” Asked if any representation has been received from AIADMK interim general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the Speaker replied in the negative.

To a query if there would be any change in the seating plan if there was a plea from the AIADMK, the Speaker said he has received no other plea except that of Mr. Panneerselvam.

As per Assembly records, Mr. Panneerselvam is the AIADMK’s deputy floor leader in the House and seated second in order in the opposition benches next to Mr. Palaniswami, the Leader of the Opposition.

A source close to Mr. Panneerselvam told The Hindu “a request not to change the office-bearers of the AIADMK Legislature Party” was made to the Speaker on the grounds that litigations in this regard were pending before the judiciary. Besides, Mr. Panneerselvam remained party’s coordinator “as per records of the Election Commission of India presently”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Appavu, to another query on the Bills adopted by the Assembly but pending before the Raj Bhavan for Governor’s decision, said some of them have been given assent and some have not been. As for the Bill seeking NEET exemption, Mr. Appavu said they were of the “belief” that it has been forwarded from the Raj Bhavan. He maintained he was not aware of the contents of the Raj Bhavan’s response on the NEET Bill to an application filed under the RTI Act.

When asked whether any reminders have been sent to the Raj Bhavan over the pending Bills, Mr. Appavu replied in the negative but maintained that as per the tradition, when Bills are adopted by the House they are given assent or forwarded further by the Governor as soon as possible. “In some countries, if a Bill is adopted and not given assent within 15 days or a month, they are deemed to have been given assent,” he pointed out.

“This is a House of representatives elected by the people to make laws. It has got powers. I think if the Governor fails to give assent to the Bills adopted by the House immediately or fails to forward it further, it is an act of boycotting the people. Because, they have been elected by the people. The insult is not on the Legislature but to the people. It is a big insult to the people,” Mr. Appavu argued.

To a query that of the 21 Bills sent earlier for assent, only 11 were pending presently, Mr. Appavu said: “Whether it is 11 or 10 or five or one or two, if a Bill goes from the Assembly, their duty is to give assent or forward it above, as the case may be. There are rules in the Assembly. Even last month, on a request from the office of the Governor, Assembly Secretary has sent a copy of the English version of the Assembly rules. We hope that they will read the rules and act accordingly.”

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