CJ re­sents state­ments at­trib­uted to her Bench

Indira Ban­er­jee says State gov­ern­ment had mis­rep­re­sented facts be­fore the Supreme Court in liquor ban case

The Hindu - - TAMIL NADU - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent CHEN­NAI

Chief Jus­tice of the Madras High Court Indira Ban­er­jee on Tues­day ex­pressed her dis­plea­sure over the State gov­ern­ment hav­ing at­trib­uted “wrong and ir­re­spon­si­ble” state­ments to a Bench led by her while ar­gu­ing a case be­fore the Supreme Court with re­gard to the open­ing of liquor shops along high­ways that pass through mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas.

Lead­ing the first Di­vi­sion Bench along with Jus­tice M. Sun­dar, the Chief Jus­tice told Gov­ern­ment Pleader (in­charge) T.N. Ra­jagopalan that it was not fair on the part of the State gov­ern­ment to have rep­re­sented in the Supreme Court that it was her Bench which wanted a clar­i­fi­ca­tion of the Supreme Court’s July 11 or­der.

Re­call­ing that her Bench was about to pass or­ders on Novem­ber 6, by in­ter­pret­ing the apex court’s July 11 or­der, she said: “Then, it was you who wanted an ad­journ­ment to seek a clar­i­fi­ca­tion from the Supreme Court. When we granted you an ad­journ­ment at the ask­ing, I think there should be some re­spon­si­bil­ity in the way state­ments are made.

Clar­i­fies ques­tion

“The sub­mis­sions made in the Supreme Court as if we raised a query and we ad­vised you to file a clar­i­fi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tion are not true be­cause it was you who said that you’ve al­ready filed an ap­pli­ca­tion and wanted us to grant an ad­journ­ment. I think the sub­mis­sions made by the State Gov­ern­ment are ir­re­spon­si­ble. We were only in­ter­pret­ing the Supreme Court’s or­der.”

Fur­ther, re­fer­ring to an­other sub­mis­sion made in the Supreme Court as if her Bench wanted to know whether the Supreme Court’s July 11 or­der would ap­ply only to Chandi­garh alone or across the coun­try, Ms. Jus­tice Ban­er­jee said: “We never ob­served that the judg­ment would ap­ply only to Chandi­garh. Even a child of lit­tle knowl­edge in law would not raise such a query.

“Our ques­tion was whether the Supreme Court’s or­der would ap­ply to high­ways pass­ing through mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas even with­out de­no­ti­fy­ing them. What was be­fore us was whether Tas­mac (Tamil Nadu State Mar­ket­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, a gov­ern­ment un­der­tak­ing that runs liquor shops in the State) shops could be opened along the high­ways with­out de­no­ti­fy­ing.” The Chief Jus­tice broached the sub­ject with the Gov­ern­ment Pleader im­promptu af­ter re­fer­ring to news re­ports of what had tran­spired in the Supreme Court dur­ing the hear­ing of the State’s clar­i­fi­ca­tion pe­ti­tion on Mon­day.

The sub­mis­sions made as if we raised a query and we ad­vised you [gov­ern­ment] to file a clar­i­fi­ca­tion ap­pli­ca­tion are not true

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