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Stalin vows to fight legally as TN Guv dismisses Balaji from Cabinet

Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi dismissed Minister V Senthil Balaji from the state Cabinet days after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) in a cash-for-jobs scam

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin during the inauguration of D.A.V. School, at Pallikaranai, in Chennai, Friday, May 27, 2022. (PTI Photo

Reacting to the governor's dramatic action, Stalin said he has no authority to dismiss a minister from the Cabinet

Press Trust of India Chennai/New Delhi

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Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi on Thursday dismissed Minister V Senthil Balaji from the state Cabinet days after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate(ED) in a cash-for-jobs scam, in a rare move that has escalated the confrontation with Chief Minister M K Stalin.
Reacting to the governor's dramatic action, Stalin said he has no authority to dismiss a minister from the Cabinet and that the DMK government would challenge the decision legally.
The governor's action also sparked outrage among the non-BJP opposition parties which condemned the dismissal, calling it "outrightly unconstitutional" and "murder of democracy".
In an official release, the Raj Bhavan said, "There are reasonable apprehensions that the continuation of V Senthil Balaji in the Council of Ministers will adversely impact the due process of law, including fair investigation that may eventually lead to the breakdown of Constitutional machinery in the State."

Senthil Balaji "is facing serious criminal proceedings in a number of cases of corruption, including taking cash for jobs and money laundering. Abusing his position as a minister, he has been influencing the investigation and obstructing the due process of law and justice," the release added.
"Under these circumstances, the Governor has dismissed Senthil Balaji from the Council of Ministers with immediate effect." Balaji is currently a minister without portfolio.
Reacting to the sudden development, Chief Minister Stalin told reporters, "The governor has no authority to dismiss a minister from the Cabinet. The government will face the issue legally."

Governor Ravi's dramatic move, the likes of which has not been witnessed in recent times, is likely to further intensify the ongoing tussle between him and the DMK regime over several issues such as Bills awaiting his assent.
Political analyst Durai Karuna said it was the exclusive prerogative of the chief minister to induct ministers into the Cabinet or drop them from the Council of Ministers.
"In the past about 4-5 decades, I have not seen or heard of a governor dropping a minister from the Cabinet without the recommendation of the chief minister," he told PTI.
Advocate Surat Singh said that as per Constitution the governor cannot dismiss a minister without the advice of the chief minister.
"It is only in exceptional circumstances that the governor has the power.... Under normal circumstances the governor does not have the power to dismiss a minister without the advice of the chief minister," he told PTI video.
RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari dubbed the governor's action as unfortunate and a "murder on democracy". His party colleague Manoj Jha called it a violation of constitutional norms.
While Samajwadi Party spokesman Fakhrul Hasan Chand alleged that the governor was acting like an "agent of the Centre", CPI leader D Raja deplored the dismissal of the minister without holding consultations with the chief minister. JD(U)'s Neeraj Kumar also condemned the governor's action.
AAP leader Raghav Chadha said dismissal of Balaji is "outrightly unconstitutional".
Following 47-year old Balaji's arrest on June 14, he was retained by the government as a minister without portfolio and the subjects held by him were allocated to Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu (Electricity) and Housing Minister Muthusamy (Excise).
Balaji is currently in judicial custody in a criminal case being investigated by the ED. A few other criminal cases against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC are being investigated by the state police.
After his arrest, Balaji had complained of chest pain and was admitted to a government hospital. Later, he underwent a bypass surgery at a private hospital.
On May 31, the governor had sent a letter to the chief minister asking him to drop Balaji from the Cabinet, and the very next day Stalin had given a detailed reply.
The governor had initially returned the file related to reallocation of portfolios to the state government, but eventually he gave his consent to the proposal.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 29 2023 | 11:50 PM IST

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