Madras HC declines to repeal criminal case against Azhagiri

In a setback to DMK strongman and Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M K Azhagiri, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court yesterday declined to quash a criminal case against him in connection with an alleged attack against an election officer.

Dismissing a petition filed by Azhagiri and two other DMK men to repeal the criminal case registered against him by Keezhavalavu police station in Madurai district on the basis of a complaint lodged by M Kalimuthu, Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) of Melur assembly constituency on April 1 last, Justice R S Ramanathan said there was no ground to quash the case at the present stage, as the ARO had categorically stated in the FIR that the Minister had yelled at him and also attempted to assault him.

He observed that there was no dispute on the issue that Kalimuthu, who was also Tahsildar of Melur, was duly authorized by the Election Commission in his capacity as the ARO to record the movements of the political leaders on video.

The allegation that the Union Minister yelled at the officer and asked him to get out of the temple would attract Section 188 of the IPC that prohibits an individual from causing obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person employed lawfully.

The ARO in his complaint mentioned that Azhagiri had got enraged when he ordered video recording of his visit to a local temple at Melur along with his party men, following a tip-off that the visit was meant to canvass votes for the assembly elections held on April 13.

The judge further said Section 144 (unlawful assembly) would also be applicable in the present case in view of the misconduct of the visitors to the temple. On the affidavit filed by the ARO before the court retracting the allegations of assault two days after the incident, Justice Ramanathan said it was for the police and not the court to take a call on the issue.

(The affidavit of the ARO stated that no such incident took place on the date as alleged in the complaint.)

Earlier, the petitioner’s counsel argued that the Minister too was a public servant and he was well aware of his duties and responsibilities. He was not a habitual offender. However, the judge declined to entertain the petition.


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