RN Ravi and K Ponmudy
RN Ravi and K Ponmudy

TN Governor Ravi invites K Ponmudy to take oath after SC rebukes him

Governor RN Ravi invited K Ponmudy for the swearing-in ceremony after the Supreme Court said that it was “seriously concerned about the conduct of the Governor” and that he was “defying the Supreme Court of India”.

A day after being taken to task by the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has informed the court that he has invited K Ponmudy to be sworn-in as Minister at 3.30 pm on Friday, March 22. He also said that he had no intention to violate the orders of the Supreme Court. The apex court, on March 21, came down heavily on Ravi for refusing to re-induct K Ponmudy into the cabinet of ministers. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud had given a day’s time to the Governor for responding and said that the court was “seriously concerned about the conduct of the Governor” and that he was “defying the Supreme Court of India”.

In a press release, the Raj Bhavan said that Chief Minister MK Stalin recommended to the Governor to induct K Ponmudy in the Council of Ministers allocating the subjects Higher Education including Technical Education, Electronics, Science and Technology, which is currently held by Minister for Backward Classes Welfare RS Rajakannappan. “The Hon'ble Governor has approved the recommendation,” the statement said. 

The Tamil Nadu government filed an interlocutory application in the writ petition that was earlier filed against the Governor over prolonged delay in assenting to bills. 

The Governor, on March 17, refused to accept Chief Minister MK Stalin’s recommendation to re-appoint K Ponmudy as a minister, even after his jail term was suspended and conviction stayed by the apex court. Ponmudy, who served as the Higher Education Minister, and his wife Visalakshi, were convicted in December 2023 by the Madras High Court in a disproportionate assets case. The duo were sentenced to three years in prison, following which he was disqualified as an MLA and Minister. Ponmudy approached the SC, which suspended the sentence and stayed the conviction, and the state government revoked the decision to disqualify him as an MLA and requested the Governor to instate Ponmudy as a Minister, which the former denied. Ravi said that Ponmudy was “tainted of corruption” and so “re-induction as minister would be against constitutional morality”.

Read: Why DMK Minister K Ponmudy stands disqualified as an MLA

This is not the first time that the Supreme Court is pulling up Governor Ravi. In December 2023, he was asked why he sent the 10 bills that were re-passed by the Assembly to the President for assent, after withholding his assent initially. In November 2023, the court expressed “serious concern” over the inordinate delay in his assenting to bills passed by the state legislature. 

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