Tamil Nadu governor dismisses jailed minister Senthil Balaji in an unprecedented move, state government to challengetext_fields
Chennai: In a rare move, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has dismissed Minister V Senthil Balaji from the Council of Ministers without consulting Chief Minister MK Stalin. This has escalated the bitter dynamic between him and the DMK-led state government.
This decision to dismiss the jailed minister is the first of its kind in recent memory and has sparked outrage and legal challenges from the Tamil Nadu government.
Minister Senthil Balaji, who is currently in jail and facing criminal proceedings in a corruption case related to an alleged cash-for-jobs scandal, had been retained as a minister without portfolio by Chief Minister MK Stalin. However, Governor Ravi has unilaterally overridden this decision through his recent action.
The Raj Bhavan released an official statement justifying the dismissal, stating that Balaji "is facing serious criminal proceedings in a number of cases of corruption, including taking cash for jobs and money laundering." The statement further announced the immediate dismissal of Senthil Balaji from the Council of Ministers, reported NDTV.
Sources have revealed that the Tamil Nadu government plans to challenge this move in the Supreme Court. Chief Minister MK Stalin expressed his disapproval of the Governor's action, asserting that the Governor does not possess the right to dismiss a sitting minister and that the government will pursue legal avenues in response. "Governor doesn't have the right (to dismiss a sitting minister) and we will face this legally," Stalin stated.
DMK leader A Saravanan criticised the Governor, accusing him of undermining the Constitution and dismissing the Governor's order as insignificant. Saravanan stated, "Who does the Governor think he is? Does he have the constitutional authority (to dismiss Senthil Balaji)? The Governor is undermining the constitution... His order isn't even worth the paper it was drafted on. It must be consigned to the dustbin."
Meanwhile, a court in Chennai extended Balaji's judicial custody until July 12. The Supreme Court had previously granted permission for him to undergo heart surgery at a private hospital, following his treatment at a government hospital for complaints of uneasiness and chest pain.
The strained relationship between the DMK government and the Governor's office has been ongoing for months, marked by disagreements over various issues, particularly the Governor's refusal to assent to legislation passed by the state assembly. Last year, the DMK lodged a petition with President Droupadi Murmu, alleging unconstitutional conduct by Governor Ravi and his failure to sign numerous bills passed by the Assembly.