The appointment follows the abrupt resignation of the earlier RO Justice (Retd) M Vijayaraghavan on May 15. Though no reason has been attributed either by BCTN or the retired judge for his resignation, sources say that the differences between Justice Vijayaraghavan and assistant ROs had reportedly led to his resignation.
In fact, the counting which was scheduled to be held on April 9 was deferred indefinitely owing to a controversy that had emerged over engaging a team of persons drawn from outside. While the returning officers, Justice G M Akbar Ali and T Mathivanan, both retired judges, had sent an e-mail to BCI secretary stating that since their representation was pending from April 3 without any response, they had proceeded with the appointment of local retired judicial officers. But the BCI had retorted saying even the team from within or from other States must be approved by its tribunal.
However, the ROs on differing the counting also put in their papers on April 10 citing ill health. Thereafter, Justice Vijayaraghavan, took over.
But a reported controversy over a guideline issued by the BCI stating that if any ambiguity or doubt arises over the validity of any vote, the benefit of doubt should be in favour of the voter by declaring his vote valid, as along as the intention of the voter appears to be clear, is said to be behind his resignation.
However, Advocate M Velmurugan, who had contested the election said, “At the face of it, there seems to be no raging controversy over the change in returning officers. All of them have cited ill health for their resignation, but the truth is the counting process is lengthy and arduous one. We have all offered suggestions to speed up the process and it is hoped that the results are out soon as much time has passed by.” But the intriguing part in the whole episode is the notification issued by Senior Advocate R Singaravelan on behalf of the BCTN Special Committee, requesting the bar council members to refrain from sending messages attributing motive against anyone in light of these developments.