A day after an AIADMK member moved the Madras High Court seeking to bar AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran from contesting the RK Nagar bye-poll, the court said the petitioner should approach the Election Commission.
The petition came up before a bench led by Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh.
Joseph, an AIADMK member from Arumbakkam in Chennai had filed a PIL on Tuesday seeking to bar TTV Dhinakaran from contesting the April 12 bye-poll on the grounds that he had been “convicted” in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) and had been fined Rs 25 crore.
In his petition, Joseph points out that under the Representation of Peoples' Act (RPA), a person convicted of an offence should not be allowed to contest the elections.
Under section 8 of the RPA, a conviction for offences under FERA qualifies for a disqualification of a candidate. A person convicted will not be allowed to contest an election for six years under the RPA.
On January 6, 2017, the Madras High Court confirmed the penalty of Rs 25 crore imposed on Dhinakaran by the Directorate of Enforcement in the 1996 FERA case. Dhinakaran, who is AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala’s nephew, was accused of money laundering and benami transactions.
However, whether the Madras High Court’s confirmation of the penalty can be interpreted as a conviction is open to debate. Former Chief Election Commissioner TS Krishnamurthy had earlier told TNM, “If it is not a formal conviction, then he cannot be disqualified. Moreover, if an election has been announced, then the court cannot interfere with the poll process until results are declared. If the court does entertain the petition, the Election Commission can object.”
Meanwhile, TTV Dhinakaran is expected to file his nomination for the RK Nagar bye-polls on Thursday, the last day for the process.
Bye-polls to RK Nagar Assembly Constituency were necessitated following the demise of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Scheduled for April 12, the North Chennai constituency will see a multi-cornered contest with TTV Dhinakaran, E Madhusudhanan of O Panneerselvam’s faction, Marudhu Gaanesh of DMK, Deepa Jayakumar and BJP’s Gangai Amaran in the fray.