New Delhi, Oct 29 (UNI) The Supreme Court today issued contempt notices to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Union Minister for Shipping, Road and Transport T R Baalu and four others for enforcing state-wide bandh on October 1 demanding speedy completion of Sethusamudram bridge project, in violation of its order.
A bench comprising Justices B N Agarwal and P P Naolekar, however, exempted the respondents from personal appearance in the court.
Others who have been issued contempt notices are state chief secretary L K Tripathi, state DGP P P Rajendran, transport secretary Devender Nath Sarangi and state transport minister K N Nehru.
Earlier, counsel for AIADMK Guru Krishan Kumar contended before the court that the state administration flouted the orders of this court dated September 30, 2007 not to enforce the ruling DMK sponsored state-wide bandh as it is the duty of the state government to protect the lives and properties of the citizens of the state and the state Chief Minister is the president of DMK.
The court wanted to know from the counsel, what was the alleged inaction on the part of the state government which amounted to open defiance of the orders of this court and what were the actions of the respondents which were contemptous.
Mr Kumar pointed out the scandalising statements made by Mr Baalu attributing motive to the Supreme Court judges and also suggesting their impeachment.
The judges however said that they were free to impeach us and there is no contempt involved in such statements.
Mr Kumar however pointed that the state chief secretary had made statements to the media that only 61 out of over 18,000 state transport buses were plying in the state on the day of bandh and no written orders were issued to the officers to ensure that normal life in the state will not be disrupted.
He also pleaded that the people were forced to remain absent from their offices and were given oral assurances that no action would be taken against them and 50,000 drivers and conducters of state transport roadways buses were not allowed to ply their buses despite the fact that they were willing to work on October 1.
The Supreme Court has already directed the Centre and the State governments to continue dredging work without damaging Ram Sethu (also known as Adam's bridge) in any manner.
Mr Karunanidhi had made some controversial remarks about Lord Rama and the Central government had to withdraw its controversial affidavit in which it had said that Lord Rama and events and characters described in Ramayana were fictitous and they never existed. Therefore, Ram Sethu can not be a human construction and it is only a geographical formation.
The apex court granted four weeks time to the respondents to file their response to the allegations made in AIADMK petitions.
AIADMK is headed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The Sethusamudram shipping canal is being constructed to connect Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka and also to reduce the navigation time.
The Hindu organisations are opposed to the demolition of Ram Sethu as they believe that it was constructed by Lord Rama with the help of Hanuman's 'vanar sena'.