Chennai, Sep 21: DMK treasurer and Leader of Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly MK Stalin has moved the Madras High Court, challenging the Assembly Secretary's order, removing a Deputy Secretary-level officer who was appointed as his Special Personal Assistant.
When the petition came up for hearing before Justice R Subbaiah today, Advocate General R Muthukumaraswamy took notice on behalf of the Assembly Secretary. Stalin submitted that the Leader of Opposition was entitled to have a Personal Assistant, a post created vide a December 12, 1970 Government Order (GO), and extended from time to time.
As per the GO, the appointing authority is the Secretary of the Assembly and the choice of the candidate for the post is made by the Leader of Opposition. Accordingly, after Stalin became the Leader of Opposition earlier this year, M Athiseshan was appointed as his Special Personal Assistant by upgrading the post vide an order dated August 8.
In the backdrop of the en-masse suspension of DMK MLAs, including himself, on August 22 for a week, the Assembly Secretary repatriated Athiseshan back to his parent department by downgrading the upgraded post.
Stalin's counsel submitted that the Assembly Secretary's order was "illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable and tainted with mala fide".
Once the person was selected by the petitioner and appointed by way of deputation as a Special Personal Assistant, the Assembly Secretary had no authority to remove him unilaterally from the post or alter his conditions of service, he contented. The counsel prayed for quashing of the order of repatriation of the Special Personal Assistant and placing him status quo ante.