Justice B Rajendran who heard the plea on issuing notice posted the case for further hearing to January 19. Stalin in his plea had submitted that as per the rules which govern the functioning of the assembly and the nature of business that it needs to transact, the Speaker with the members of the assembly are required to form as many as 12 committees which deals with aspects like estimates, public accounts, public undertakings, privileges, business advisory, delegation legislation, Government Assurance and so on within 15 days of the Government formation.
Pointing out that these committees basically act as a watchdog of the ruling party inside the legislature and the executive to ensure that their acts are in accordance with the Constitution and the laws, Stalin said despite a lapse of seven months since the formation of the 15the assembly, these committees were yet to be constituted.
This was simply because the DMK which has 89 members have to be necessarily and adequately accommodated in these committees which the ruling AIADMK was scared of since their mis-governance would come to light, he said. Stalin also submitted that as leader of the opposition, he had raised the issue in the assembly on September 1, 2016 only to receive a stoic answer that a notification would soon be issued in this regard.
The indefinite, unlawful and arbitrary postponement of the formation of assembly committee was an assault on democracy and a fraud on the constitution and the assembly, Stalin added.
Five central government agencies to evaluate Sagayam Commission report
The Sagayam Commission report pertaining to a multi-crore illegal mining scam in Madurai continues to hang in balance with the Madras High Court including five central government agencies to evaluate the report and guide the State government on the issue.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar, on hearing arguments over the extent of loss sustained owing to the illegal mining included Geological Survey of India, Registry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Mine and Safety, Zoological Survey of India and National Bio-Diversity Authority as parties to the case.
The bench also directed the assistant solicitor general to send an intimation to these agencies to ensure that inputs required are filed by these agencies and the same is made available to the State Government.
Further, the bench also directed the State Chief Secretary, Industries Secretary and Home Secretary to file a composite picture before the court within six weeks and posted the case for further hearing to February 27. During the hearing, senior counsel P Wilson appearing on behalf of Federation of Indian Granite and Stone Industry contended that the 11 lakh crore loss cited by the report was highly imaginary and proper evaluation process as formulated by Ministry of Mines has not been followed.
Noting that the commission had failed to account for waste, rejects, non-saleable granite generated during granite quarry operations which worked out to nearly 80 per cent to 90 per cent, said for the period from 1996 to 2013 the whole nation’s export was a mere Rs.52, 374 crore and Tamil Nadu accounted for a mere 13 per cent, which corresponds to a export value of Rs.6808.65 crore making it clear that the loss projected was highly imaginary. The Sagayam committee’s counsel pointed out that the court itself had mandated that the next step following the submission of the report is a probe by CBI or any other relevant agency.